thrift store package- mary mcquire

Related Story

COLUMBIA - When the economy is sluggish, finding a good deal is more important than ever. Some find those deals at secondhand stores. Despite the recession, these stores' business has stayed steady and thrived in Mid-Missouri. 

"Over the past two or three years [business] has been pretty consistent...When the recession started, we really ticked up a lot. It's just been consistent, really good," said Michael French, owner of Itchy's flea market off of Providence Road.

French said he receives new stock every day to keep up with customer demand.

"I think people are looking for a good deal and good prices," said Rachel Helwig, owner of House of Treasures and Frugal Finds on Providence Road.

Helwig said her store has seen the strongest rush in business throughout  back-to-school and tax season over the past years.

French said he thinks customers are opting for secondhand merchandise over low-priced goods at chain retailers because secondhand pieces are often better quality. 

"A lot of times we have stuff that's better made than those places would. They have stuff that's made in China, made of particle board," said French.

Helwig says that customers can often times find identical items at secondhand stores that are for sale new at other retailers.

Secondhand business is steady nationally as well. KOMU called two national thrift store chains to check on their numbers. Savers, one of the chains, is set to open 21 new stores in 2012. Both Savers and Goodwill have opened stores in Missouri and Kansas within the year.