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Thrifty shoppers don't let holidays get in their way

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ANN MARIE AMES
December 10, 2007
— Thrift store shoppers are a dedicated bunch.

Monthly, weekly or even daily, they look for bargains. This time of year, some even buy Christmas gifts or holiday clothes at second-hand outlets.


Many shoppers, however, don’t think of thrift stores during the holidays.


Goodwill would like to change that.


“It’s a very viable alternative,” said Cheryl Lightholder, Goodwill’s communications manager.


Aside from affordable holiday outfits, Lightholder said thrifty shoppers can find lavish decorations for less money than buying new.


“Everyone likes that. After all, you can be driving a Bentley and still want a good value,” she said.


Sarah Woychick of Janesville is a thrift store regular who finds herself at Goodwill more often during the holidays.


“I’m a frequent thrift store shopper,” Woychick said. “But I tend to be in here more this time of year looking for gifts and such.”


Jim Bausch of Janesville is the opposite. He hits thrift stores all year and wasn’t looking for Christmas presents last week.


“I’m done Christmas shopping. Those gifts have already been sent,” Bausch said.


Baush, a Vietnam veteran, was shopping at Goodwill, 2003 Holiday Drive, Janesville, for things to send to soldiers overseas.


“I’m here three times a week. That way you get the bargains,” Baush said. “Otherwise, you might miss them.”


A soft economy doesn’t drive more shoppers to Goodwill, Lightholder said, and the store follows the trends of other retailers. That might be the case for other resale shops in Janesville.


Leah Price said things get a little busier during the holidays at Promenade Fashionable Consignments, 203 E. Milwaukee St., Janesville. The resale store owned by Price and her husband, Jason, opened in April 2004 and features gently used brand name women’s clothing and accessories.


“Does it get busier? Yes and no. Sometimes on the slower days, I think it doesn’t. This is really such a ‘me’ store,” Leah Price said. “People come in here to shop for themselves. But we also have gift certificates, and people come in here looking for holiday party outfits.”


That’s what brought Susan Foley of Janesville in to browse at Promenade last week.


“I’m in here today because I have a party to go to,” Foley said. “But I come all year round to buy and sell clothes.”


Tanya Kimble, co-owner of Perfectly Plus, 119 N. Main St., Janesville said the store hasn’t been open long enough to know how much the holiday season affects sales. The consignment store for plus-sized women opened Aug. 3.


But the store’s gift cards are selling, Kimble said, and she thinks customers are looking for gifts as well as things for themselves.


With some exceptions, Kimble sees customers looking for practical, meaningful gifts.


“It’s the thought,” Kimble said. “People are going back to that. Well, not so much Generation Y. But they’re thinking about the traditional meaning of Christmas. It’s not so much the price, it’s the sentimental value of the gift.”



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