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Thrifting becomes rising shopping trend in N.Y.

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What’s your favorite way to shop? Some people hit up local boutiques, others head out to big department stores and many go online – but how about those unsung deals from the thrift store?

“Everything that we do at Goodwill begins with the donation,” said Goodwill of WNY’s marketing manager, Linda Maraszek.

A distinct bell means the lifeblood of the thrift industry is at the back door of the donation center portion of the building.

“The items come through, our doors are sorted by our team members and literally priced and put out of the sales floor constantly throughout the day,” said Maraszek.

Locations have been trying to make everything in the back of house easier so that they can build up what’s on the other side of the double doors.

“You just drive up to the attended donation center at any of our store locations,” said Maraszek. “They’re open seven days a week, some really great convenient hours, and you just pull up and one of our friendly attendants is going to come out and greet you and take those donations from you and actually thank you personally.”

Of course, there are still inanimate drop-off containers, but no matter how people donate, it’s the actual sales that are trending through the roof.

“We have people who have been thrifting with us for forever. Myself included,” Maraszek added. “Then there’s a whole new group of people who are really looking at thrifting as a great option. You know, it’s estimated that about 62% of Gen Z and millennials are now actually preferring to shop secondhand and thrift stores, which is great for Goodwill. It’s great for their budget. And it’s also great for the environment and supports a great mission. It’s a win-win for everybody.” 

There are more options online and in the brightened-up stores — and not just that vintage shirt or dress you never knew you needed.

“People might not know that we have furniture,” she said. “If you need to update your home furniture first apartment, this is the place to go to find what you need ,and so you can find some really great pieces here at prices that are not going to break the budget.”

So why is thrifting making such waves lately? Upcycling and style? Or just understanding that slightly used or ‘slightly loved’ doesn’t mean anything more than yours for a reasonable price?

“You know, there used to be, I would almost say a stigma attached to shopping in thrift stores. We have upgraded our stores. They’re clean, they’re modern, they’re bright, they’re organized and people are really pleasantly surprised when they walk in here,” said Maraszek. “And I think we’re gaining a whole new group of thrifters.”

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