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. 

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