What is a Thrift Store

9/1/2013 by D. Cammarota

In the last ten years or so, thrift store shopping has most certainly gone from something shabby to something chic. The thrift store transformation is due, in part, to an unsteady economy and folks looking to save money, but is also due to the rapid growth of secondhand websites like Craigslist and Ebay. Consumers have come to realize that buying used items -even clothing - is a great way to save money and find unique things.

But exactly what is a thrift store? Generally speaking, the thrift store began as a charitable operation intended to raise money for some sort of cause through donations. One of the earliest and most popular thrift stores was developed through the Salvation Army which has it's roots in 19th century England. Today there are hundreds of thousands of thrift stores around the globe that operate for a variety of causes from AIDS to Homelessness to Animal Welfare.

Since thrift store shopping has become more popular, the thrift store as we have come to know it has expanded to include for-profit, secondhand stores that are not intended to be connected with a charity. Instead of soliciting donations, the thrift store owner generally finds or buys items at a very low price and marks them up just enough to make a little money but keep the item well below retail.

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