It seems as though one man’s trash really is another man’s treasure. The year 2013 has started with a bang for thrift shops of the Kitchener-Waterloo area. While thrifting may have once been a taboo activity, it seems now to be quite the opposite. One Kitchener thrift shop reports that by January 2nd, all fifty-nine of their Velcro sneakers were finally sold out. Another has rearranged the store layout to accommodate particularly long cash-out lines.
The Honk investigated one Waterloo thrift shop located in Uptown Waterloo which has received complaints for the traffic jam which surrounds it daily.
The shop near Bridgeport has been struggling with a unique problem since the new year. The store, usually well-stocked and well-populated, has enjoyed an increase of 170% in donations lately. However, it hasn’t been able to keep stock on the shelves for very long.
“When we open in the morning at 10, there’s always a little crowd waiting outside the doors. They’re very civil about it. Nice people,” says volunteer Sue Grayson. “Once I saw them hosting a potluck breakfast in the parking lot.”
The recent surge in popularity has caused a bit of an impediment for Uptown traffic. Customers who don’t arrive early enough are forced to drive around the block a few times, waiting for a spot to open up.
The Honk asked Grayson if the shop has ever experienced a problem like this before.”No, never. Our cliental has typically been that of pedestrians and bus-goers. Only recently have we seen this increase in car drivers.” Grayson later admitted that she doesn’t even own a car herself.
So why the sudden interest in thrifting? This thrift shop wonders the same thing.
“It’s not that these people have only got twenty dollars in their pockets. They don’t need to be thrifty,” she explains. “That’s the curious part. It’s that thrift shops are cool suddenly. We’re the new name brand. Everyone these days wants to be able to point to a sweater and say they found it digging and searching at the thrift shop.”
Many thrift shop customers seem to be returning to the thrift shop to re-donate their used materials, and replace them with new gently-used clothing. Honk Analysts suggest that this pattern of activity reveals the true reason behind the surge: New year resolutions.
Whatever caused this surge in business, the shops aren’t complaining. Many thrift shops donate a portion of their profits to charities. Perhaps this is one trend worth buying into.
The Honk wants to know: How often do you thrift?