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Thrift stores kick off holiday season
Small businesses use similar tactics as big-box retailers
Gateway House Thrift Store sales clerk Miriam Gregory adds another purse to a selection of bags Friday afternoon at the store’s Dawsonville Highway location.

The Black Friday bargains didn't end at the big-box retailers Friday.

Local thrift stores were using similar tactics to attract more customers and money.

"People can get better buys at thrift stores," Gateway House Thrift Store clerk Miriam Gregory said. "They can even get new stuff at half the cost, so why wouldn't you?"

The Gateway House kicked off the holiday shopping season by opening an hour early at 9 a.m. Gregory said the store also offered coupons for 25 percent off storewide until noon that day.

"We stayed pretty steady (Friday) morning, and our business is doing real good," she said.

She estimates sales during the holiday season have risen about 10 percent in the last few years.

Gregory said she believes the boost in sales is a sign of the economic times, and that people see they can find quality items at much lower prices.

"We're selling DVDs for $3 and CDs are $1," she said. "I think you can really get your money's worth."

Potter's House Thrift Store in Gainesville opened its doors on Black Friday for the first time this year, assistant manager Christine Portuese said. The day was part of a holiday break for employees in previous years, but staff wanted to take advantage of the holiday traffic to increase sales.

Portuese said additional sales were tacked onto the store's regular sales Friday. Clothing was 25 to 95 percent off and used furniture was 10 percent off.

Portuese said many customers are amazed at some of the donations they find, including real Coach bags and name-brand clothing, such as American Eagle, with the tags still attached.

"Some of the things we get in are really very nice, and I think people are tired of paying retail for things that they can get that are just as good," Portuese said. "I used to pay retail for everything. I could kick myself."

Resale shops are also good for older items that may be coming back in style, those that have been in households for years.

Portuese said it's important for people to keep in mind that proceeds go to a good cause. Potter's House has a goal to help end homelessness, and Gateway House Thrift Store uses its proceeds for a battered women and children ministry.

"The profits we make support shelters and help people get off the street and get a new life," Portuese said.

The thrift store employees said new sales will crop up as the holiday shopping season continues.