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Families opting for thriftier furniture buys

POSTED: January 3, 2009 5:00 a.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Jefferson resident Paul Taylor and his sister, Michelle Cottrell of Chicago, look around Around Again, an antique shop in Gainesville, on Tuesday afternoon.

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When times are tough economically, most people tend to try and cut back on their expenditures wherever they can, especially when it comes to items like furniture.

Instead of buying new furniture, more and more people are turning to thrift stores to outfit their homes.

"We’ve noticed more people coming in for the (big ticket items)," said Shana Daniels, who is the manager of Thrift Store and More, previously known as The Potter’s House, on Oak Street.

"Over the past year, more people have been coming in for things like furniture, beds and appliances like washers and dryers," she said.

While thrift store business has been going up, business for other used furniture vendors hasn’t been doing as well during the past year.

Many different antique dealers are reporting that business has been down this year, especially around the holidays.

"Business has fallen off completely. We’ve been hit just as hard as everyone else, probably more so," said Sandy Applebaum, owner of Around Again, an antique store on Thompson Bridge Road.

"I’ve been in business in the same location for 15 years and business here has been amazing, but right now things are as bad as they can be," Applebaum said.

While antique furniture can cost a bit more than other used furniture, Applebaum says it can be a better investment, but most people don’t have that extra money to spend right now.

"People always look at antiques as an investment because they hold their value, whereas newer furniture doesn’t do that," she said. "We usually have down times around Christmas because people are out buying gifts for other people, not themselves. And with antique furniture, that is usually an item that you buy for yourself, not as a gift."

Applebaum isn’t the only antique vendor feeling pinched. So is Connie Cash, the owner of Cozy Cottage Antiques.

The lack of business has been so bad that Cash has decided to close up her shop on Dawsonville Highway.

"My lease is up in February, so I had to make a decision to either get out or stay, but the economy being the way it is, made it an easy choice," she said. "I’m still going to sell antiques, but I have to downsize my business so I’ll probably sell them from my home and do auctions in Buford."

"I’ve been in business here for almost three years and this is the worst that it has ever been. Business has just been terrible," Cash added.



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