Thrift stores introduce ‘high end’ shopping to Richmond

February 15, 2013

Video and online story by Samra Khawaja
VCU InSight

RICHMOND, Va.—Thrift stores are on the rise as shoppers search for a good bargain.  Yet although these customers are on the lookout for cheap finds, some thrift stores are transitioning into a different kind of second hand buying.

High end thrifting is being introduced to the resale industry. These higher end thrift stores are mixing old merchandise with new. This also means items are at a higher price.

“That would be more like not goodwill or your average second hand stores,” said Anneliese Grant, a VCU junior. “[They are] stores that go to stores and hand pick out clothes for you and then have them at their shops.”

Rumor’s Boutique on Broad Street began their business as a high end thrift store, but they quickly noticed their business going down.

“We originally opened up on Harrison Street as like a high end boutique, our prices were from 30 to 120 dollars and that didn’t work there at all,” said Casey Longyear, co-owner of Rumors.

According to Longyear, location plays an important part of what a high end thrift store is and how prosperous they can be. If they are located in a bigger city, the chances for the high end boutique to survive are higher.

“Location is very important,” Longyear said. “For the stuff we had originally, we probably could’ve brought it to Carytown and had that work there.”

The National Association of Resale Professionals reports that few thrift stores successfully maintain their business during its first year. However, if the thrift store owners understand their market, the chances of their survival are greater.

For Rumors’ owners, this realization came a year and a half later after they first opened. Now, they have reopened their shop as a thrift store.

“I couldn’t believe we didn’t think about having a thrift store before,” Longyear said.

Since the transition, Rumors’ owners say they have witnessed more foot traffic and an overall more positive experience.