Saturday, April 7, 2012

Talk To Us About Thrift Stores

Talk To Us About Thrift Stores

Wonder Woman and I are starting the process of creating a charitable organization dedicated to the financial support of local abandoned animal and rescue organizations, no-kill shelters, and free spay/neuter clinics by opening a combination Thrift and Consignment Store.

We're incorporating as a non-profit and applying to the IRS for tax exempt status. When approved donations will be tax deductible, and we will be considered a charitable organization.

Having to pay no taxes, our profits will go towards cash and food grants to local organizations that are directly involved in the rescue, care, sheltering and adoption of abandoned animals, primarily dogs, cats, and horses.

We Want Your Opinions

We've been in dozens of thrift stores and have developed a fairly good idea of what we want to do, but we can't ignore the expertise, and accumulated knowledge of all of you thrifters.

Our business model calls for a combination thrift store / consignment shop.

The thrift side will include most of the everyday items you would expect to find in a thrift store with the exception of a large clothing section. We will have space devoted to clothing, but not the acres of racks that you see in most thrifts. Household items, furniture, dishes, kitchen items, small books and toys section, you know the usual stuff.

The consignment section is the area where we will sell our mid-century stuff, antique-ish  items, things a bit more expensive than you would expect in a thrift store, and actual consignment items from other people.

We would love to hear from you with regard to your opinions on what makes a great thrift/consignment store.

What about operating hours and days of the week open?
What about inventory items? What do you see too much of? Not enough of?
What about prices.
What about atmosphere.

Tell us what you love and hate about the thrift stores you frequent.

Please leave as many comments as you wish. Leave one today, and if you think of something tomorrow leave another one.  There are no right or wrong ideas. We just want to know what ALL of you think.

This post will also be available on the Tab Bar at the top of the Home Page

Wonder Woman


  1. Most of the thrift stores in our area are pretty depressing looking places. I think if I were opening a thrift store like yours, I'd go with a little more upscale look...some pretty color on the walls, furniture displayed with nice accessories on it and not so much pure junk to have to dig through. I know that one man's trash is another's treasure...but stuff that was bought at the dollar store last year and donated this year is just junk, any way you slice it, and I get tired of having to sift through all that Made in China stuff.

  2. We do have some thoughts concerning some of points.

    On the thrift store side we say no way to things that don't work. We'll test everything before it goes on a shelf.

    However, we're also talking about a "Seventy Five Cents Per Pound Area". In it you'll find incomplete, broken, too depressing to mess with, and all other assorted crappy pieces that we wouldn't want to insult our other items with by having on the same shelf. Take all you want, we'll weigh it at the check out, and you pay 75 cents per pound.

    And on the consignment side we say no to Made In China.

  3. The Seventy Five Cents Per Pound Area is a really smart idea. I like that it will be separate from your better things, and people won't have to sort through all the broken stuff to find the good things. That give the DIY folks their super buys and keeps lazy folks like me from having to mess with it.

  4. I like the way you are working on setting up the NP for a good cause. It's a lot of work from all angles and just getting up and running as a regular business here in FL is a bunch of work! Besides the up front lease and getting electric, a DSL line, telephone and credit card account, you will likely have to hire people to help out, and that's another whole bucket of worms on the state and federal level. There ars workers comp and payroll taxes to deal with. I don't know the regs down in Lee County, but I had to go through a background check as we are dealing with "used" merchandise that the local enforcement people think may have been be stolen and pawned!
    As far as the shop itself goes, my advise would to be keep it clean and organized and keep your prices low enough to move. I think separation of the good stuff from the "has potential" stuff of quality consignment is also a good idea as long as the pricing will move the pieces. Wishing you the best of luck on this venture! I'm sure you will learn a bunch and let me know if I can help....

  5. Just make sure there's no harsh overhead lighting, dingy 1980's linoleum, and shelves piled up with junk. I'd love to see a place that doesn't have the ambiance of a hospital ward.

  6. I don't know that the hardcore thrifter is who you should be catering to. While we might spend a fair amount of time and money at the thrifts I'm pretty sure there aren't enough of us (compared to the overwhelming mass of casual thrift shoppers) to really matter. I say pattern your store after whatever thrifts seem the most busy in your area regardless of how they look or what they sell. Thrift stores have been around a long time, they've had plenty of time to figure out what get cash in the drawer....and keep it there (limiting unnecessary expenses).

    1. Can't disagree with your thought about hard core thrifters versus casual shoppers.

      I think it breaks down into three major groups. Those who shop there because that's what they can best afford, those who are better off but are looking for a deal, and then the Hard Core Thrifters like you and me. There may be other groups, but I think this is pretty inclusive.

      Since I don't have access to a panel of the first two groups I have to go to the pros and see what they think.

      I've scoured the net for articles on thrift store operation and management, and we have a pretty good idea of what we're going to do, but it's always a good idea to poll those on the front lines.