One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
This is the mentality that many thrift stores, resale shops and consignment stores take across the Columbus area. Based on the premise of buying unwanted clothing from people and reselling it at a lower price than department stores, these shops can make a profit off of items people don’t use anymore. Resale shops such as Half Price Books and Clothes Mentor in Westerville purchase items up front from people for a fraction of the retail price, whereas thrift shops accept donations and are typically not for profit. Consignment stores sell items on behalf of a seller, and give them a portion of the money after the sale.
For senior Bella Gregory, the benefits of thrifting are both financial and environmental.
“It’s much less expensive to buy a thrifted item than a regular one, and they’re pretty much the same quality as they would be if you bought them brand new. It’s also fun because I can find things I may not have considered buying before, and I’ll get them because it’s less of a financial risk. It saves the environment, too - buying something used instead of brand new means there’s less of a demand for the resources to make new clothes,” Gregory said. “I’ve thrifted at multiple stores, but I go to Goodwill most frequently.”
Gregory said that because of this, she thrifts on a frequent basis.
“I thrift probably about once every two weeks or so,” Gregory said. “If I want something new, I’ll usually make a trip and get a few items. If something goes out of season, or I just don’t wear it, I typically bring it back to the stores, so my clothes are always in a sort of cycle.”
Bridget Eakins, district manager for resale store chain Clothes Mentor, said that thrift stores often face hygiene concerns, but that the stores are very diligent about ensuring cleanliness and safety for their customers.
“We require all items to be freshly laundered before we purchase them into our stores. We have many processes in place to make sure items are properly sanitized,” Eakins said. Resale stores buy used clothes from people who approach them to sell the items. Eakins said the process the store uses ensures high quality products for customers.
“We get to hand select and price the items to sell in our store. Each store has unique inventory needs and through our buying we can make sure our guests have a great selection. We do all the hanging, tagging and merchandising in the store, which is also a cost savings compared to regular retail. We buy items based on being in great condition, in current style and being from labels within the (past) two to three years,” Eakins said.
Senior Camila Hall thrifts frequently, and said she enjoys the hunt for good items, as well as the money she saves.
“I go once a week probably, and I love the unique pieces of clothing you find because then no one else has what you have,” Hall said. “I feel like all thrift stores have good deals, but an important part is being patient enough to go through all of the clothes to find something you really like. There’s a thrift store on Cleveland Avenue that I enjoy, and I like the Goodwill in Westerville and Delaware.”