Thrift stores are stores where you can usually buy inexpensive secondhand items. There are two types of thrift stores: those that specialize in a particular category of secondhand items (e.g., used clothes, secondhand books, used furniture, etc.) and those that sell a variety of items (i.e., general thrift store). For a consumer or buyer, thrift stores are stores where they can be thrifty with their buying. For an entrepreneur, thrift stores are opportunities to be thrifty, as well—they are the least expensive stores to set up and maintain. In this article, you will read tips and ideas on how to open a thrift store—whether generalist or specialist—of your own.
1. Prepare the essentials. They are as follows:
- Business registration, licenses, and permits. Check with your state, county, or city authorities first whether thrift stores are allowed within your area or zone. If they are not prohibited, secure the necessary registrations, licenses, and permits. This step usually entails legal paperwork and is relatively easy to do. Come up with a very good business name.
- Business plan. You would think that thrift stores don’t need to be backed up by a good business plan. Think again. A thrift store is just like any other business enterprise. It requires planning and strategizing, otherwise you will not know where to start or how to proceed from where you are. Your business plan is also crucial to your obtaining additional capital from lending institutions or banks. So, come up with a valid and sound business plan.
- Store space. Two important considerations must be remembered when looking for store space: enough space and good location. Ensure that your future store has enough room for your items. But, what good will those items be if nobody comes to see them, much less buy them? The answer is good location. Good locations for thrift stores are areas where there is high traffic or where there are a lot of people.
- Store equipment and supplies. The most important are the cash register, price tagging tools or labeling machines, racks and shelves for displaying your goods, credit card machines, and accounting machines. Also remember to buy supplies for day to day operations such as business supplies (e.g., staplers, staple wire, celluloid tape, paper clips, etc.) and cleaning supplies.
- Business signage. Prepare exterior and interior signage. The exterior signage is visible to the public and should be large and attractive enough to draw people in. The interior signage is for identifying various areas in your store so that your store visitors can easily find what they are looking for.
2. Stock your inventory. Essentially, you will buy secondhand items and then sell them at a marked-up price to the public. Where can you find such items? There are many places where you can buy secondhand items at bargain prices. Yard sales and garage sales, for example, are good sources of secondhand items. You can also buy items from other secondhand stores. You can also acquire consignment items, in which case you will display the consignment items in your store (at a marked-up price, of course) and, after the item has been sold, you pay the owner the price you originally agreed on for the consigned item.
3. Advertise your store. Set aside some budget for advertising in your local media. Consider distributing fliers announcing your business. Launch your store with a bang—make sure your grand opening is grand. A grand opening is good advertising, too.
Once you have successfully set up and opened your store, always replenish your inventory so that you will never run out of items to sell and profit from.