In another sign that people are looking for alternative ways to consume and reuse, we were staggered to learn that the Brooklyn branch of the Housing Works Thrift Shop brought in $1 million in sales during 2008. And while these numbers are on par with their other Manhattan stores, as other area retailers are seeing decreased sales, this shop is actually seeing a jump in numbers.
The Housing Works model is noteworthy for a number of reasons. Their overarching social mission - to provide care for people with HIV and AIDS (they have largest community-based program in the United States) through a range of services including housing, meals, job training, education and treatment – is funded and promoted by their stores, giving an added incentive for people to buy there. From a business standpoint, the items that are taken in as donations are curated first so they can offer a better quality of merchandise to their customers. You can still find a $1 pair of jeans, but there are also more expensive designer clothes and high-end furniture on display.
As noted by Housing Works Thrift President Richard Vorisek, this decision makes a distinction between “cheap” and “thrifty” that resonates with consumers. Obviously, the ability to be selective counts on the public being willing to part with these valuable items in the first place, but during a recession when cash contributions might harder to come by, supporting charities in other ways becomes a much more attractive option.
[via NY Daily News]
Read our previous post about their online window auctions here.