Secondhand stores in Jacksonville offer extra choices for thrifty shoppers

Secondhand stores in Jacksonville offer extra choices for thrifty shoppers

The idea isn’t new, but it’s spawned several chains at least three of which have a presence in Jacksonville as well as independent businesses.

Lori Smyklo said she and three employees at Closet Trade on Southside Boulevard look over thousands of items given them for consideration and pay for about 1,000 to 2,000 items every week. But for every item accepted, several are rejected.

And there has been a marked increase since the economic bubble burst in 2007, she said. More people than ever are coming to browse through the store’s clothing and children’s furniture and equipment. In recent years, the store has grossed about $350,000 to $500,000 a year in sales and she’s been able to afford to remodel the store and reshuffle displays, she said.

But the store’s success is creating new challenges, Smyklo said. Back in 2007, the number of people bringing in things to sell spiked, and the store bought and sold more. Three years later, the store is rejecting more submitted items because they aren’t the same new or lightly used quality a reflection of the fact that people are buying less and using things longer.

“People had newer stuff,” she said. “The clothes didn’t get worn so much.”

That, coupled with brisk sales, means the store now is selling more than it’s bringing in, she said.

“Our business has increased every year,” she said. The store, at 3917 Southside Blvd., is in its 13th year. three of which are in the Jacksonville area. Their niche is nearly new and lightly used toys and children’s clothes. Mary Weber, who has owned the chain’s 15 year old outlet at 11112 San Jose Blvd. for the past 10 years, said the store has received a boost from the sagging economy.

“We’ve done pretty well,” she said. “We give great value for what you’re getting. We’re reselling at 50 to 75 percent less than retail. And that is like new.”

Along with the brand and the business model, the franchise also includes access to a central software database that dictates pricing for all of the chain’s stores.

“That way, everybody is getting the same amount of money for every item,” she said. “It works really, really well.”

Shanna Harris of Jacksonville was shopping Tuesday in the Once Upon a Child at River City Marketplace near Jacksonville International Airport. She has two children, a 2? year old boy and a 3 month old girl. She said she prefers the store to retail stores that sell new items only.

“It’s cheaper to buy from here like way cheaper,” she said. “It’s pretty nice stuff. Sometimes you have to look through it, but most of the stuff is nice. They have a good selection.”

Once Upon a Child is one of four resale store franchise brands administered by Minneapolis, Minn. based Winmark Corp. Three of its other secondhand franchises are in Jacksonville as well.

Play It Again Sports buys items up front, but that chain focuses on used sporting goods and sells new ones as well. The Play It Again chain has 350 locations, three of which are in the Jacksonville metro area.

Music Go Round sells used musical equipment, but doesn’t have any Florida stores. and Canada and three in the Jacksonville area.

Brenna Delony, who manages cheap jerseys the chain’s stores at 9400 Atlantic Blvd. near Regency Square and at 10320 Shops Lane near The Avenues, said business is brisk and there’s no shortage of clothes to purchase because their target demographic 14 to 24 year olds are fashion conscious and aren’t prone to wear clothes until they’re out of fashion or wear out.

“We never stop buying. We’re always buying,” Delony said. “There’s always more to go through and we never run out of inventory.”

Jenifer Wooten and Stephanie Brown, both Florida State University students, happened to be shopping in the Regency Square Plato’s Closet at the same time Wednesday. Both said they preferred paying that store’s pricing to traditional retail.

“It’s a lot cheaper,” said Wooten, 23. “I like them. It’s good deals, if you think about it.”

Brown, 19, agreed.

“I like it because it’s really cheap,” she said. “And they color coordinate the stuff, which really makes it easy. And they have stuff coming in all the time.”.