Did you know that the Winnetka Thrift Shop has been selling goods for charity for a century? Or that Goodwill Industries has its own fashion and decor consultants to help people dress up their wardrobe or their home? Or that the local municipality with the most resale shops per capita is not Chicago? It's Barrington, which has a resale shop for every 1,772 residents.
Those are just a few facts from SecondhandChicago.com, a new website that shines a spotlight on Chicago’s large and growing resale market. Launched in July, the website features regularly generated news on Chicago’s resale scene, a “Shop of the Week” article and a directory with 500 thrift, vintage and upscale resale shops in Chicago and the surrounding collar counties.
A quick glance through the directory reveals that area resale shops sell just about anything and everything you can imagine, from apparel to furniture to household goods to musical instruments to wedding gowns to furs to building materials. And while you may be familiar with such stalwarts as Goodwill and Salvation Army, there are a dozen other resale chains in the market with more than 90 stores.
However, chain stores account for only a quarter of the resale market -- independent stores make up the other three-fourths. And, they make it up in spectacular fashion, with a wide range of store styles, sizes, types of merchandise offered and sometimes less than orthodox retail hours. After all, how many stores do you regularly shop at that are open only two days a week (Treasures in Rummage in Carol Stream) or open at "11ish?" (Savvy Seconds and 1sts in Chicago)
Additionally, more than a quarter of the resale shops are run for and by charities. So, shoppers with an altruistic bent can find a bargain and help a good cause at the same time. SecondhandChicago.com organizes shops geographically into seven areas – the North and South sides of Chicago and five suburban regions: North, Northwest, West, Southwest and South suburbs. The geographic breakdown allows shoppers to find not just one or two stores they may be familiar with in their area, but a host of others nearby.
Chicago has by far the largest number of resale shops within its borders with no fewer than 150. However, a number of suburbs have more resale shops per capita, with northwest suburban Barrington taking the crown with six shops among its population of 10,327 residents.
Several other resale rich suburbs are:
· -- far western Geneva, which has eight shops and 21, 495 residents – or a shop for every 2,687 villagers;
· -- Hinsdale, with four shops and a population of 18, 454 – or a store for every 4,613 residents; and
· -- Algonquin, which has six stores and 30,347 residents – or a store for every 5,057 of its citizens.
By comparison, Chicago has a store for every 18,000 or so residents.
All told, 120 suburbs and area towns have at least one shop. After Chicago, the towns with the next highest number or resale shops are Naperville (15), Aurora (11), Evanston (10); Orland Park (10), Wheaton (7) and McHenry (7 ). Eight suburbs are tied with 6 shops each. They are: Barrington, Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Arlington Heights, Palatine, Geneva, St. Charles and Skokie.
Those numbers look like they will be increasing, too. NARTS, the national association of resale professionals, reports that resale shops have been growing at a rate of 7 percent a year the past two years. And all signs point to Chicago following right along.
Goodwill opened stores in Des Plaines, Westchester and New Lenox in the past several months and has plans to add five more shops in metropolitan Chicago next year, according to Cheryl Lightholder, communication director for Goodwill’s Chicago and Southeast Milwaukee district.
Savers, a national resale store chain, made a splash this month with three new stores in Carol Stream, Orland Park and Arlington Heights this month. To announce the openings, Savers used TV and radio advertising and enlisted the services of Chicago Bears Lance Briggs and Earl Bennett to make appearances at the stores. Savers is opening a fourth store at 945 S. Rand Rd. in Lake Zurich in October. Other stores that are opening soon include New Uses in Crest Hill and Orland Park, Luxury Garage Sale in Chicago, Sparrow’s Nest in Algonquin and Plato’s Closet in Oak Lawn.
This news release was submitted by Tiny Giant Public Relations.