Clothing shops that won't break your budget

June 4, 2009 3:40:03 PM PDT
While many department stores and boutiques are hurting during this recession, some clothing shops are actually doing quite well.Thrift shops and second-hand stores are seeing a boom in business as shoppers still want to update their wardrobes, but they don't want to spend a fortune.

And there are a number of these stores all over the city.

At Housing Works, the clothes are gently worn, but the prices are 70 percent off retail and business is growing.

"We're running up 5 to 10 percent in New York," said Richard Vorisek, president of Housing Works.

The thrift shop has opened two Manhattan stores in the past several months, taking advantage of lower rents.

Samora Free is shopping at another new shop, Buffalo Exchange. It first opened in Williamsburg four years ago. Its newest location in the East Village opened in November. Buffalo Exhange's business model is a little different than most thrift stores because customers can buy, sell or trade clothes.

Melanie Friedson has lugged a suitcase of clothes to the store she wants to sell. For her efforts, she's getting a choice of $29.10 in cash or $48.50 in a store credit. Since Melanie is between jobs, she's opting for the cash.

"I have three roommates because of the times," she said.

And because of the times, the Salvation Army is also seeing business boom. Sales are up from last year. The Manhattan stores alone made $60,000 more this past May than the previous May. And while people save by shopping thrift, in many cases, their purchases also go to a good cause. In the case of the Salvation Army, sales help to fund the adult rehab centers.

"Most people have no idea why the stores exist," said Major David Wilson, with the Salvation Army. "They're coming here because they want a bargain."

CLICK HERE for more on Housing Works thrift stores

CLICK HERE for more on Buffalo Exchange

CLICK HERE for more on the Salvation Army: New York Division

Web produced by Maura Sweeney


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