Every middle-class American holds distinct childhood memories of second-hand purchases and garage sales. A thrift store is a type of resale store that sells goods donated by anonymous people at dirt-cheap prices. These stores might or might not specialize in any products but the goods sold by them are always refurbished for a new look and feel. The motive here is not to earn any profit which is while the stores sell items at rock-bottom prices. You can find everything ranging from clothes to photo frames and accessories in these stores. Now that you have understood the basics of a thrift store, you might have a doubt about how it operates. Today we will discuss the same but first, we are going to differentiate it from a resale store so that you can comprehend the concept of a thrift store better.
What’s the difference between a thrift store and a resale store?
A resale store is basically a retail store selling used goods. You can either purchase or donate the products sold by these stores. Some of these items might be more expensive compared to a thrift store as they might be purchased. Owners need to be very cautious about running the resale stores by finding barcode readers and marketing appropriately. A thrift store, on the other hand, receives its products from donations. They do not operate with a profit motive and generally support non-profits. All the profits earned by them are channeled towards a social cause. You can take the example of thrift stores like MERS Goodwill which use their profits to run their Excel Center and carry out various skill development and grooming programs. The main aim of a thrift store is to develop the community by working in collaboration with a non-profit organization. While a resale store is a broad category of retail stores, a thrift store is a subcategory of the resale store division. Though both these stores resell used goods, they vary from each other depending on their revenue model.
Every retail store purchases goods in bulk before selling them at an increased price per unit. The profit earned by them is the difference between the purchase and selling costs. These stores pay their duties, bills, and employee salaries out of this profit. The purchase cost of a thrift store is usually zero as they replenish their stocks with donated goods. The entire selling price is added to the store’s profit exchequer as there isn’t any purchase cost involved. This profit is reinvested for generating further revenue alongside paying the employee salaries and donating to community services. Thus, a thrift store functions primarily to serve the community and operates at its own expense. Various community contributions and social services are brought on equivalent platforms by a thrift store.
The working mechanism of a thrift store
- You have something that you don’t need anymore. This is donated to a thrift store provided the item isn’t broken. The donation might also be done by executors of the estate of a deceased person if they don’t want most of it.
- On accepting the donation, the thrift store provides a receipt to the person making the donation. Often the donation can be used as a tax write-off if the donor is audited on their taxes.
- All the donation received by the thrift store is sorted into three categories, namely:
- Things that can be sold in their store.
- Things that can be stacked into bundles and sold in bulk to other nations. For example, children and other people in impoverished countries around the globe wear clothes with the American sports logo on them.
- Finally, garbage isn’t of any use to anyone.
What thrift stores sell?
Products are not fixed but it varies from store to store. Generally, clothing, shoes, household items, furniture, and small and big equipment are sold at thrift stores near you. Buying items from thrift stores is an environment saving habit too. Below is the list of the most popular products you must shop at thrift stores.
- Wooden furniture
- Baby clothes
- Maternity clothes
- Vinyl records
- Wooden hangers
- Halloween costumes
- Kitchen tools and appliance
- Picture frames
At the end of the day, everyone emerges a winner. Wealthy people get to declutter their houses and also enjoy a tax deduction. Those who cannot afford new stuff can get amazing deals on almost-new items at a thrift store.