As specialists in this field, we have seen the Thrift or Resale store evolve over the years to the point that it is now being considered as a place to shop for not just day-to-day needs when we can find the great deal but as a source for items that one would have normally considered going to a conventional retailer to obtain. While there is still reluctance on the part of some to cross that line, Upscale Resale stores are seeing demand today where once none existed. While a case can be made that we are seeing more of this trend due to the economy, the truth is, this trend started to develop long before the current weakness in the economy.
Let’s look at the history of these types of retail outlets. Years ago we were accustomed to the term “Bargain Center” and more recently “Thrift Store”. These were typically somewhat drab, dingy places to shop and unfortunately often times somewhat smelly. The merchandise was often times not displayed well and was frequently of inferior quality, wrinkled and/or dirty. The change that has been taking place over the years involves organizations such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, various Christian schools, and other non-profits as well as for profit organizations and many Rescue Missions across the country. These organizations have been gradually adopting many of the same trade area analysis techniques and merchandising practices to please the customer that are being used by conventional retailers. Unique to Upscale Resale Stores, as much emphasis if not more is being placed on the ability of a given trade area to produce the needed donations and the quality of donations, as is the analysis of consumer potential. Both quality and volume are key components to the modern Upscale Resale store. You can have volume of donations but, without quality you are left with a “Bargain Center”.
Inventory volume is obviously needed, however, to keep the shelves stocked to capacity which provides an inviting and diverse opportunity for the discerning shopper. Because much more sophisticated techniques are being used to locate the sites for the stores, the stores are more successful on average with growing dollars per square foot, and as a result, less failures. The public is able to start counting on the stores for specific merchandise knowing that the store will be there when they need it. This fresh perception of the resale retailer builds on itself and creates more traffic and more positive word of mouth advertising.
Also, with better site location techniques, these stores are being placed in trade areas where customers, while always seeking good deals, are willing and able to pay higher prices for good selection and higher quality merchandise.
Resale operators today are concerned first and foremost with convenience for their donors and customers. What would have once been considered impossible purchase or lease prices for a resale location are now becoming much more common. These higher prices are being extended for sites that offer the donor the greatest convenience in dropping off their donations and shoppers the greatest convenience when they decide to stop and shop. Entering an Upscale Resale operation today one would not immediately know they were in a resale store when confronted by professional decorating and an overall fresh, well organized appearance. Owners seek to make it enjoyable for you to be in their stores, comfortable to find your way around and easy to find what you need. They follow the same merchandising techniques as conventional retailers and provide customer service at a level often times superior to some of the conventional stores.
Good synergy is a must for the modern day Upscale Resale store. They are looking for traffic and shopping convenience for their dedicated resale customers and others they want to attract. As an example, sites that contain other retailers such as grocery stores, dollar stores, Wal Marts, K-Marts, Walgreens, Rite Aids and others of this type all represent good synergy for the modern day Upscale Resale store. While paying more for these types of sites might seem prohibitive on the surface, if done properly and professionally it will pay great dividends to the operator in terms of alternative revenue for their non-profit.
In conclusion, give the new “Upscale Resale” shop a try and see what you’ve been missing.