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How many "thrift stores" can a city support?

Offline Cobia

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How many "thrift stores" can a city support?
« on: May 01, 2011, 07:16:55 PM »
Hey guys,

Like many auction hunters I have thought about opening a "thrift store" as a way to create business and sell items found in storage lockers. Over the last few weeks I have been doing a visual inventory of the number of thrift stores, consignment shops, resale shops, in my area to get an idea of the competition. I was astounded by what I found. On one stretch of road less then 10 miles long there are at least 15 resale related shops NOT including pawn shops. Another road about the same distance had 7 resale shops. close to my home there are 3 shops in the same strip mall, and at least 5 others I can think of off the top of my head. That is NOT including the big non-profits like Goodwill, Salvation Army, Thrift Stores of America, etc.

My question is "How many thrift stores can a city support?" I have not tried to do a "head count" of the people running thrift stores and comparing that to auction attendees. I know several of the regulars are thrift store owners. I guess I am wondering if the shift in the American economy can support all the new thrift stores, or are there going to be a lot of people losing money and going bankrupt trying to open and run thrift stores?

Offline Travis

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Re: How many "thrift stores" can a city support?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2011, 09:44:28 AM »
Well, the cool thing about thrift stores is that everyone of them offers a unique inventory. In a recession, stores like this do well. I would image that once our economy has recovered, you will see a lot of them go out of business.

Re: How many "thrift stores" can a city support?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2011, 10:39:59 AM »
Keep in mind, once you open that store up, you need to continuously keep filling it with inventory.  Are you going to be able to buy enough lockers in the current environment to keep it full?  I know quite a number of folks that have gone that route, and good affordable lockers are selling for so much right now, it's hard to keep their shelves full of inventory.  Once you own a store, you HAVE to buy just to have something to sell.  I have seen thrift store owners battle over good lockers and spend so much money they expect to just break even, just so they have something to put out on the floor for sale!

Offline MovieMan

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Re: How many "thrift stores" can a city support?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2011, 10:50:08 AM »
  I have seen thrift store owners battle over good lockers and spend so much money they expect to just break even, just so they have something to put out on the floor for sale!

In my area this is true of flea market sellers. Having fresh stock keeps the regulars coming back (especially in collectibles) and having a good variety of stock makes new flea market buyers start to become regulars.

With high priced lkrs, it's a crap-shoot sometimes as to whether the acquisition will even break even let alone make money; it's only  value might be the stock for stock's sake.  The crap-shoot factor is why I have slowed down a lot in buying. I used to buy 4 to 6 a month on a regular basis, year in and year out, but now after 7 years and 4 months, my per month average has dropped to 3.90 a month for that time frame meaning I haven't bought very many in the last three months.

Offline Travis

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Re: How many "thrift stores" can a city support?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2011, 12:21:48 PM »
Yeah, same here. I was buying between 20-35 lockers per month every month. I haven't seen one at decent price since December. But, perhaps I was just spoiled at the prices units used to sell for. I just can't seem to adjust to what I feel is overpaying just for the sake of buying a unit. Our Garage sales, which we held in a used car consignment lot, had developed a following. People depended on our garage sales to be there every Saturday. We even had several people that came to our garage sales for their own inventory. We got to a point where we had to buy several units every week just to meet the demand of our shoppers.

Offline rulesforrebels

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Re: How many "thrift stores" can a city support?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2011, 07:08:11 PM »
I'm seeing a lot pop up but also seeing a lot shut down. The ones in my area doing well are the ones that are unique and not just cheap run of the mill crap.

Unique could be more higher end items, more collectible items, etc.

I agree though, its not like a best buy vs circuit city vs radio shack where they all have the same junk. Every store is goign to have a pretty unique inventory.


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