Clovis and Portales thrift stores have seen an increase in shoppers looking to cut shopping costs as well as customers bringing in items to sell.
Sheila Sabitz, owner of Consigning Women stores in Portales and Clovis, said that sales have more than doubled from last year. In 2007, Sabitz said the stores had about 300 customers a day. In 2008, the stores see about 800 customers a day.
“The demand is serious. People are feeling the financial crunch everywhere,” Sabitz said. “You have to cut the fat somewhere and you can’t cut it in gas or food, so you have to cut it in clothes and other things.”
The Clovis location of Consigning Women features name-brand clothing and Sabitz said shoppers are realizing that gas prices make driving to Lubbock or Amarillo to shop unrealistic.
Heidi Zamora, a Clovis homemaker, said thrift stores help her family of five with their finances. “I’ve found brand-name things in our thrift stores,and I’m excited because I can get a $5 outfit for my daughter that would have cost me $120 in the store it first came from,” she said. “And I didn’t have to go to Lubbock.”
While shoppers are staying local, residents are also utilizing thrift stores to bring in a little extra cash to ease the rising gas and food prices.
Lee Bricker, owner of This and That in Clovis, said that he has an extra 15 people a week bringing in items to sell at his thrift store.
“More people are trying to sell things just to have money to get around,” Bricker said.
Bricker said that the increase of items will help his store in the long run.
“People need the money and it gives me more to sell,” he said.
For Edward Yankovich of Clovis, thrift stores helped him cut down his start up business costs when he began his karaoke business.
“I always go to used store first to see what I can find,” he said. “I bought a pair of speakers that would have cost me $750 each for $400 total. It’s amazing.”
After finding a mixing board, CD’s and other supplies for his business, Yankovich said he began shopping thrift stores for everything and began saving $100 a month.
“Everything is going up. If I can get a Gap shirt for $2 instead of $30, I will,” he said.
The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries International, the nation's two largest charitable resale organizations, report year-to-date sales increases of 6 percent to 15 percent.
The gains are even more pronounced in the private sector. In an industry trade group survey of more than 200 resale and thrift shops, nearly two-thirds of those businesses reported higher sales in 2008 compared to the previous year. The average sales increase: 35 percent.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.