Thrift stores can have immense impact on the community and when connected to a non-profit, can serve as a great additional funding source. SMCo Thrift frequently receives inquiries about how to begin a thrift operation. While many factors go into running a successful thrift operation, a key component is always real estate.
Location, Location, Location
As with most businesses, an essential aspect of a thrift store is location. Many retail businesses will focus on a location that drives customer interactions. While this is important of course, in thrift, donations are the lifeblood of your operation. Without donations, you won’t have product to sell.
Therefore, when evaluating a potential thrift store location, a critical indicator is: will this location facilitate a healthy donation stream? Do the people in the surrounding area have excess gently used items they can donate? One way to analyze this is to look at the average income of the area.
Donor & Customer Access
Your location needs to be accessible for both customers and donors. For donors, aspects such as ease and convenience of donating involving wait times and drive through ability help determine the donor’s experience. A positive donor experience can lead to a lifetime of giving equating to hundreds or thousands of dollars.
For customers, the location’s size and parking options are crucial. The size will help determine the organization of the store and the number of products that can be on display. While the parking can sometimes enhance or deter a customers desire to return.
“The Right Location”
Finally, the right location will be a mix of the correct monthly cost, an ability to develop a donation stream, and easy access to enhance donors and customers’ experience with your thrift operation. Picking a location is a crucial selection and can be a scary commitment, but the SMCo Thrift team is here to help you Do Thrift Better!