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Economy drives change in resale biz
Sales up, options varied for buyers and sellers
Kenny Phillips and Caitlin Chapman look over some of the merchandise Tuesday at the Next to New Resale Boutique on Cleveland Highway. - photo by Tom Reed
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After 24 years in business, Teressa Glazer has seen many changes in the resale business.

For one, her former newsletter informing customers about area bargains has blossomed into an online blog to accommodate the more than 1,000 readers. Another change has been the shift in seller motivation.

“Originally, we offered sellers the choice between cash or store credit. With the store credit, we gave about 30 percent more than we did in cash, so it was a no-brainer for most people,” said Glazer, owner of Next to New Resale Boutique on Cleveland Highway in Gainesville.

“But right after (Hurricane Katrina in 2005) when gas prices started going up, everyone wanted cash for their (consignment) items. We had a lot of people who weren’t customers, they were just looking to make extra money.”

According to the National Association of Resale Professionals, 62.4 percent of its members saw an increase in the volume of inventory being brought through their doors from the fourth quarter in 2008 to the same time in 2009. After so many years in the industry, Glazer says she’s had to learn to adjust to the changing economic climate.

In order to survive, Glazer had to eliminate the cash option for sellers a few years ago.

“Buying just for credit is the reason why we’re still here. Things are starting to turn back around, but it has been a rough couple of years,” she said.

The economic downturn of the last few years hasn’t just tightened purse strings of business owners; it also affects many customers’
spending habits.

“We’ve had a lot of customers coming in that never thought they’d shop resale before,” Glazer said. “And some of the customers that used to come in and carry out armloads of purchases are being much more picky about what they buy. Everyone is just being more careful with their money these days.”

Although she’s recently been able to reintroduce the cash option on a limited basis, Glazer says she has to be even more selective about the items that she accepts.

“We still carry the same inventory and have the same expectations. It’s just been even harder to find (things to buy). I think people are wearing their clothes even longer and we’re having to turn away more stuff because of the condition that it is in,” Glazer said. “I like the way that I see the economy is changing people — they’re being more careful about their money. If things ever do turn around, I think we’re all going to be better people for (this experience).”

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