Springfield thrift stores, resale shops impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Jan. 24, 2021 at 11:39 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Many businesses across the Ozarks have made adjustments to keep doors open throughout the pandemic. KY3 took looked into how those efforts are going for thrift stores and resale shops in the Springfield area.

Many thrift stores, like MERS Missouri Goodwill Industries, said business has been decent since numerous retail stores started to reopen back in May. Others, like Closet 360, said it’s been challenging.

Renay Becerra is the owner of Closet 360 and said it’s truly been a season of adjusting. Becerra and her husband arranged for free deliveries and curbside pickups to stay afloat. At one point, they had to switch solely to online sales and had to temporarily shut down during the peak of the pandemic. While the store is back open now, online sales have been its driving force, especially with foot traffic and in-store sales only at 30%.

Becerra said, despite the store taking a hit during the pandemic, they’re focused on helping the community through its ministry. She emphasized that the community has been generous through clothing donations and sales.

“We didn’t know if we were going to have to close down and out, the cause is so important to us,” said Becerra as she held back tears. “The community has supported us so much, and we have a lot of loyal customers that even when they probably didn’t need to buy clothing, they brought it anyways to help support our ministry and help support us as a family.”

The help of the community is what keeps Goodwill Industries going, too. Executive Vice President of Retail for MERS Missouri Goodwill Industries, Mark Kahrs, said business has been profitable, with 2021 starting better than what they saw last year. He says transactions are down 13-24%, but sales are up, partly due to some people shopping differently.

However, when it comes to donations, numbers weren’t as high around the holidays as in past years. Kahrs said that because people were at home more amid the pandemic, they donated more throughout the year. He said the slight decrease in donations during the holidays is also because the tax law changed and fewer people itemized.

“That end of the year tax rush has shifted a little bit,” explained Kahrs. " I think because people are realizing that they’re getting the max deduction itemizing, and they aren’t making that kind of end of the year rush to get that last write off.”

Kahrs reiterated that they’re extremely grateful for Springfield residents shopping, embracing, and donating during the pandemic. He said the donations and purchases go back into the community through programs like its Goodwill Excel Center in Springfield.

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