First-time visit to a resale shop?

Here are some terms you should know

Entering the shop, there’s the wonderful aroma of just-brewed coffee and freshly baked cookies, clients relax at the bistro tables before shopping in the two-level, 10,000-square-foot store featuring men’s, women’s, and children’s selections. You’ll even find a western wear and vintage section. Sound like an upscale boutique? Think again. Look again. It’s Too Good to be Threw resale shop located in San Antonio.

“Some people don’t realize they’re in a resale shop until after they’ve looked at the clothing for a few minutes. We are very selective about the clothes that we take. Although they are name brand, they are not more than 2 or 3 years old,” says Linda Reams, the store’s owner. “Everybody, no matter the income, enjoys a bargain. I want my clients to know that our clothes are not secondhand. I decorated my shop nicely to make my clients feel special and at home.”

According to the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops (NARTS), there is a combined total of more than 15,000 resale, thrift, and consignment stores in the country. No matter your social stature, there is a place for you to find great items at bargain-basement prices. What’s more, these stores offer a wide selection from housewares to clothing to shoes — both new and used. If you’ve never been to one, you may want to give it a try. Before you begin to browse the shops, here are a few pointers to remember.

“While all shops that sell gently used consumer goods are resale shops, there is a distinction. Thrift shops are owned by nonprofit organizations. Consignment shops accept merchandise on a consignment basis and pay the owners 40% to 60% of the selling price when and if the merchandise is sold. Resale shops are often stores that buy merchandise outright from the owner,” says Adele Meyer, executive director of NARTS. “Every shop serves a different consumer demographic. The rule of thumb is that resale is 25% to 30% of the original cost of a new item.”

As you peruse resale shops, here are some terms to remember:

  • A closeout is liquidated items that the wholesaler is no longer manufacturing and will sell to retailers for less.
  • Discontinued items will no longer be manufactured and may be sold for less to make room for a new line.
  • Off-brand items are not name brand. “Off-brand is one that you do not recognize, unlike Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren,” says Reams. “It’s usually cheaper quality or a copy. When you buy it, sometimes, you get what you pay for.”
  • Irregular clothing may have a slight flaw in the fabric, seams, or buttons. You can get really great deals on irregular name brand clothing because you often can’t tell there’s a flaw.
  • Refinished usually applies to wood that has been cleaned up and furniture that has been re-upholstered. Reconditioned and refurbished usually applies to automobiles.
  • As you shop
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