RICHMOND, Va. — In the current economic climate, thrift stores in Richmond are thriving by offering trendy clothes at highly discounted prices. Thrift store owners say they currently see a higher demand in their stores. And with more than 30 thrift stores in the Richmond area, shoppers can easily keep up with current trends without breaking the bank.
“We see a rush of students come in when they get their apartments,” said Mike Crittenden, store manager of Fan Tastic Thrift on West Main Street, which has operated as part of a national chain to support veterans since 1982. “At the end of the school year we get everything back in a big rush.”
With the location near VCU, Fan Tastic Thrift attracts many college students as it sells housewares, electronics, books and a wide variety of women’s and men’s clothing.
Crittenden also said that the store has seen a large number of working families trying to save money while shopping at Fan Tastic Thrift. The store manager said that the state of the economy affects how people shop. Customers are more careful of what they buy and try to look for long-lasting items, he said.
“They’re more cautious at the quality of the good that they are shopping for,” Crittenden said. “I think there are probably a lot more people who are interested in items that last a long time.”
His store sells donated items and does not buy items directly from customers. If something stays on the shelf for a long period of time, the item is discounted even further to encourage people to buy. It only took store clerk Tatiana Saikam a few minutes to put together the following budget outfits.
Second Debut by Goodwill in Carytown offers value shoppers discounted name-brand items. District manager Pat Brown said her store gets donated items directly from the Goodwill, and the clerks sort through everything by hand to make sure they are priced accordingly.
“The other day, someone donated a Burberry raincoat. Their jackets usually sell from $750 to $1,000,” Brown said. “We put $75 on that.” Some outfits in the store window appear to be no different than the ones in a shopping mall department store.
“We have doctors and lawyers shop here,” Brown said. “We can compete with any of the other high-dollar stores.” As outfits outfits like these show, put together from the racks in Second Debut, they can easily be worn for work.
Rumors Boutique on West Broad Street has operated since 2007 and uses social media to appeal to the college crowd at VCU. Unlike Second Debut and Fan Tastic Thrift, the store trades or buys seasonal and popular items such as Dr. Martens boots and HUF brand socks from customers. It in turn promotes outfits like these for sale on popular social media platforms like Instagram and Tumblr.
This story was reported by the “iPadJournos” mobile and social media journalism project, a cooperation between WTVR.com and VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture.