RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - For years, thrift stores have been a staple with penny-pinchers loooking to make every dollar stretch.
But thanks to the slumping economy, more people than ever are taking a look at second-hand merchandise. We found a surprising gem in carytown that can really help tighten your purse strings.
"We get brands like Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, we get Prada, we get Chanel," said Ellen Thornhill of Goodwill Virginia.
With names like that you may not think thrift, but Second Debut is second hand that may make you think again.
"Normally a coat like that at a fur salon goes for $7,000-$8,000 dollars," Thornhill said. "The cost of that full length mink coat is $1,500 here."
The slumping economy has been a boom for thrift store sales. Add that to the fact that this recession doesn't discriminate based on income and you could find some second hand store shelves stocked with high end merchandise.
"What we find is the quality of the merchandise we get in is really in many instances, really really terrific...there are many things that still have the original label on it," Thornhill said.
Second Debut stays true to it's Carytown roots by offering a boutique shopping experience at a bargin rate.
"People are always surprised and it's amazing how many people come here repeatedly and its on the fourth, fifth, sixth visit that they realize this is a Goodwill owned and operated business," Thornhill said.
Goodwill noticed the opportunity back in 2007 when higher quality donations started rolling through the door.
"They can expect to find higher end labels, basically across all the different categories, shoes, purses, career wear, we have evening wear , we have bridal gowns," Thornhill said. "We haven't forgotten about the men either, we have a fairly robust men's dept."
Goodwill has a specially trained workforce that sifts through all of the donations to seperate the good, from the better, to the best.
"And that gets routed to this store," Thornhill said. "The average price of a clothing item at any of our regular goodwill stores is $4.99, here it's just a little bit higher , so you're still getting a wonderful bargain on something that's really high quality."
Eighty-five percent of Second Debut's sales go back into Goodwill programs to help disabled and disadvantaged people in our community.
Goodwill also helps the unemployed in the Richmond area, providing job training and placement.