Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Local thrift stores feeling the effects of inflation

by BIZ Magazine

As a result of inflation, our dollars are not going as far as they used to go these days. In times like these, many people turn to thrift stores as a place to go in an effort to make their dollars go further. Rising prices are causing more people to look for alternative ways to save money, which is why secondhand shopping has become more popular. We have several thrift stores in our area. Many of our local thrift stores support churches or religious organizations while others support much larger nonprofit organizations such as The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries.

In order to find out more regarding how inflation is impacting our local thrift stores, the Bossier Press-Tribune reached out to one of our local nonprofit organizations who operates multiple thrift stores across Northern Louisiana. Lynn Stevens, Director of Workforce Development at Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana, said “Initially, during the lockdown period when individuals and families were at home, our donation inventory increased. However, once the state mandates were lifted and people started back to school and work, donations overall have decreased.”

“Looking at the same time period in 2023 as compared to 2022, both foot traffic and sales have increased at our Goodwill stores. In 2018, Goodwill moved accessories, linens and shoes to a unit price system. Prior to 2018, these items were individually priced like our housewares. This move decreased our prices on items such as: CD’s, DVD’s and comforters. We have not raised our unit prices on apparel since 2016, even in spite of raising the rate of pay for all of our store employees,” Stevens added.

So, many people may ask why shop at Goodwill Industries or one of our other local thrift stores instead of shopping through an online clothing store? Simply put, money spent at a local thrift store goes back into our local economy.

In answering this question, Stevens said:“Goodwill Industries is a local nonprofit organization that uses its revenue to fund critical job placement and training programs in North Louisiana. Many of the donation boxes you find around the community are actually for the benefit of “for profit” thrift stores from outside of our community. These stores often partner with nonprofits, but they only share small cash stipends from the sales of the items they collect with their nonprofit partners. They do not share the items they collect,” Stevens said.

“Goodwill is dedicated to serving people with disabilities, criminal backgrounds, youth in the foster care system, those who have dropped out of high school, or anyone that walks through our doors needing help in finding employment. Goodwill believes everyone deserves a chance to be successful in supporting themselves and their families. In 2022, Goodwill served 2,628 individuals through its job training and placement programs. Goodwill also helped 416 individuals gain employment with more than 225 local employers. This is a $9,072,461 positive economic impact to our community,” she added.

— Stacey Tinsley, BIZ. Magazine

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