BY MARY BEVANS GILLETT
Special to the Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Resale is on the rise in northern Michigan.
The mostly for-profit shops that sell used clothes and other items seem to be cropping up everywhere. Two new outlets just opened and another opened a second location -- making for more than two dozen resale, consignment or thrift shops in the Traverse City area.
"“There’s a downsizing of America underway,” said Vincent Amroin, owner of the newly opened Boomerangs Children’s and Maternity Resale.
Boomerangs is operating in the former Children’s Orchard location at Logan’s Landing, 2020 South Airport W. The store focuses on children’s clothing, toys and equipment as well as maternity wear.
Plato’s Closet opened May 16 at Kid’s Creek Marketplace, 1535 S Division St., with clothing and accessories for teens and young adults. Zany Consignment Boutique, 318 Vine St. in Traverse City, opened a second Zany’s East location, at 4630 US 31 N,on May 18.
About 80 percent of the stores nationwide are operated as ‘for profit’ businesses, furthering a $13-billion dollar a year industry with more than 25,000 resale and consignment shops in the United States. The sector has experienced seven percent growth in just the past two years.
Amroin has watched the growth trend for the past 19 years as owner of Vince’s Fine Jewelers located next door. Vince's Fine Jewelers was a leader in the retail movement locally -- his store evolved from traditional retail relying on new items into an inventory that is 80 percent resale.
Amroin credits the economy and shifting attitudes toward for the popularity in resale. There are at least ten resale, consignment or thrift shops within two miles on South Airport, including Ebb Tide and Riverside Furniture located on the west side of Logan’s Landing.
Plato’s Closet specifically targets teens and young adults in their twenties, with trendy clothing, shoes and accessories. Melissa Dow co-owns the store with her husband, Mike. She has a team of certified buyers on staff who evaluate items for condition, style, size and trends, then pay cash of up to 40 percent of the anticipated sale price for items selected. Dow and her staff began buying inventory in mid-March, striving to fill “..6,000 empty hangers.” On opening day, 100 people standing in line waiting for the doors to open. The momentum has continued during the first three months in operation. There are currently 20 employees, many between ages 16 and 24.
Inventory is often sold at 50 to 75 percent less than new prices on items retailed in traditional stores just a year earlier.
Dow, like Amroin, also notes the change in buying attitudes during the past 15 years, saying the trend is for value shopping versus high spending.
“People are seeing great values and saying ‘Why not?’" she said. “Today it is all about finding a good deal … it’s a badge of honor.”