Resale clothes the new trend in Putnam County

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Shopper Rita Reitzel looks over a jewelry display at Martin's Emporium Owner Judy Martin shows her some of the many choices the resale and new store offers customers.

Teenager Alix Green reached into the pocket of her newly purchased jeans and pulled out a wad of bills. The seven dollars she found in the pants was twice the amount she had paid for the recycled garment picked up at a local resale shop.

Green discovered the joy of secondhand shops while on vacation last summer with a friend in Georgia. Finding cash in the pocket was just an extra bonus. "I really love to shop and buying clothes at secondhand stores is a lot of fun," claims Green. "Finding money in the pocket just makes it even better."

From coast to coast the fashion trend is to buy used. New parents to teenagers are shopping in the many stores which carry gently worn items from clothing to furniture. It doesn't matter whether your style is a 1970s Adidas jogging suit or a 1950s Chanel suit, an authentic disco shirt or a period zoot suit, there's a resale store out there somewhere that can give you what you want.

In fact, the America's Research Group, a consumer research firm, claims that about 15 percent of Americans will shop at a thrift store or resale shop this year. While these stores have been around in the guise of Goodwill and Salvation Army stores for decades, over the last ten years stores like Plato's Closet and Once Upon a Child as well as a few local stores such as Martin's Emporium and Remember When have emerged as hot shopping spots.

According to the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops there are more than 20,000 resale, consignment and thrift shops in the United States. Resale is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry.

Martin's Emporium is basically a consignment store selling bridal, suits and dresses. Their jewelry, purses, shoes and accessories are new. "When you pay less for a suit or dress as resale, you can afford to buy the accessories like jewelry, scarfs and purses," states Judy Martin, owner. "We fill a niche that is different from the Senior Center store or Goodwill," she adds. "Those stores take donations and can price things differently than a consignment or resale store that purchases their inventory," she adds.

One of the main reasons for the surge in resale is the teen market. A report by the Children's Defense fund analysis of U.S. Department of Labor Data claims that teen unemployment is at a historic high due to a weak economy. Joblessness among America's 16- to 20-year-olds stood at 59.1 percent in June -- the highest rate in 55 years.

Some other reasons for the increase in buying resale includes new tougher return policies imposed by traditional retailers, more stay at home or single wage earner families and the fact that many teens just think shopping at a resale store is cool.

Not only are secondhand clothing stores hot but resale shops selling furniture, antiques and collectibles are seeing an increase in sales.

This trend can be partly attributed to television shows like TLC's Trading Spaces, where designers often use second-hand furniture in their efforts to decorate a room for less than $1,000.

Remember When in Cloverdale opened in January. The store, which sells it's own inventory also rents space to vendors selling antiques, collectibles and vintage items. They hold a monthly open air market on Saturdays which is open to anyone wishing to rent a space.

Joan and Bob Taylor enjoy browsing through the furniture and collectibles at Remember When. "There are so many beautiful things. I love looking at them. Some of them remind me of when I was young and visiting my grandmother," remarks Mrs. Taylor.

The trend of resale shopping has slowly spread throughout the country, and it seems to have hit Putnam County in a big way. Whether you are looking to make some cash or spend some, hidden treasures abound in Putnam County in the guise of resale shops. And, if you are like Green, you might just find a bonus in one of the pockets of your new purchase.

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