can’t get to the thrift store? this thrift store comes to you
Most thrift shops that support charities are operated by volunteers, many of whom are retirees and others who, while full of time to give to run the shop, may not have a lot of knowledge of or the time for alternative marketing approaches or delivery channels. A while back I profiled one of my favourite thrift stores, Double Take in Toronto, which supports the Yonge Street Mission. What appeals to me about this store, beyond the well-presented, light and spacious retail space, is their loyalty program – a modern marketing element for a thrift store. For each dollar spent, 10% equivalent in points ‘cash’ goes on your account, good for use on future purchases.
I recently visited, for the first time, the bricks and mortar location of the Christian Benefit Thrift Shop in St. Catharines, ON. Again, this is a well-organized, welcoming shop. And again it is an operation that embraces contemporary retail and marketing tactics. This shop is part of a ‘chain’ of Canadian and American thrift stores that support the local and global relief, development and peace projects of Mennonite Central Committee. The St. Catharines location’s web site is thorough and they embrace social media with an active Facebook page.
Like many charity shops, they have an in-store silent auction to help garner the highest returns on the higher quality/demand/value donated items. And while I appreciate that these auctions allow for more customers to have a chance at securing a fabulous item, alas I’m not always able to get to a shop to bid in time or to enter that last-minute bid to secure a win. To help with that challenge, the MCCC retail channels include an Etsy shop, where one can peruse and purchase some fantastic pieces. Etsy is an accessible online marketplace that operates as a virtual mall for smaller companies and organizations to build exposure in the marketplace and sell their mostly artisan, hand-crafted, and vintage wares, making fabulous, one-of-a-kind items (like those unique pieces donated to CBTS), accessible to more of the masses, and to those who can’t make it into the store. While shipping is available at a cost, items are also sold with the option for local pick-up.