Thrift Stores – Giving, Getting, Growing

According to NARTS: The Association of Resale Professionals:“There are currently more than 25,000 resale, consignment and Not For Profit resale shops in the United States. Culver City has it’s share – Love the City on Sepulveda, Goodwill Books at the corner of Washington and Sepulveda, and the Junior League’s Tick Tocker downtown on Culver Boulevard. Thrift, Resale, Vintage- whatever you call it, Culver City is into it.

“Resale is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Research estimates the resale industry in the U.S. to have annual revenues of approximately $17.5 billion including revenue from antique stores which are 13% of their statistics.

ThredUP, an online resale marketplace, pegs the total resale market at $24 billion annually … predicting it will reach $41 billion by 2022 and $51 billion by 2023. Goodwill Industries alone generated $5.9 billion in retail sales from more than 3,000 Not For Profit resale stores and online sales in 2017.

But have we created too much of a good thing? The Marie Kondo television series, Tidying Up, which encourages families to purge the closets and drawers of anything that doesn’t “spark joy” shot two of it’s episodes in Culver City. The first was Margie Hodges, dealing with clearing the house of her late husband Rick’s clothes and her grown-and-gone children’s possessions. The second was Sehnita Matteson and her husband Aaron, struggling to let go of enough stuff to make space for the possibility of another child in the family. Both Episode Two and Episode Six succeeded with hundreds of bags of clothes, books, toys and household items cleared out and donated.

This has become a clog in the pipeline. Many thrift stores have days where they are not taking donations. They simply don’t have space.

For the determined closet cleaner with a deadline, there are two ideal destinations for those drop off bags – Culver Closet for CCUSD, and West Wardrobe at West Los Angeles College. High school and college students in need of clothing benefit from these services for both everyday needs like jeans and special occasions like prom dresses and interview suits.

“According to America’s Research Group, a consumer research firm, about 16 – 18% of Americans will shop at a thrift store during a given year. For consignment/resale shops, it’s about 12 – 15%. To keep these figures in perspective, consider that during the same time frame; 11.4% of Americans shop in factory outlet malls, 19.6% in apparel stores and 21.3% in major department stores.”

If you are a shopper, a donor, or both, celebrate National Thrift Store Day by considering how deep green habits like resale are making the world – and your city – a better place.

Judith Martin-Straw

The Actors' Gang

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