National Training Conference • Spring 2021

Learn How to
Do Thrift Better


What To Expect

On March 8th to 10th, SMCo Thrift will host its next event focused on equipping leaders in the thrift industry to Do Thrift Better. Principles, strategies and tools proved successful in the 150+ locations where the SMCo Thrift team has assisted will be shared. Join us in Knoxville for this unique gathering of thrift operators from across the United States.

What You'll Learn

Expect to hear about, and then see, the interconnected elements within a thrift operation – such as receiving donations, sorting & pricing individual items to retail sales. The first two days are spent in a “lecture” environment at the Knoxville Convention Center, whereas the third day is spent in a “lab” environment, learning in stores. Directors, managers and other leaders will walk away with practical steps to implement at existing thrift operations to grow your social enterprise. 


Be Prepared to Participate

Every conference is unique because of the people who attend. We recognize the value of different viewpoints so come prepared to share your challenges as well as your successes. Recent attendees have traveled from west and east coasts as well as places in between. They represented organizations with no stores to more than a dozen, with existing stores generating less than $25K per month to over $125K per month.



Monday, March 8th

Capturing Donations

  • Importance & Value of Donations
  • Engaging a Donor

Sorting & Pricing Donated Items

  • Counting Touches
  • Pricing Strategies


  • Identifying Key Performance Indicators
  • Benefiting from Captured Data

Snacks will be available throughout the afternoon. Plan to eat lunch before you arrive for the start of the conference.

Tuesday, March 9th

Leading and Managing People

  • Defining Rhythms
  • Business Structure

Customer Service

  • Team Member Engagement
  • Interacting with Your Audiences

Merchandising & Pulls

  • Building Displays
  • Store Planograms

Team Services

  • Onboarding & Training
  • Evaluating Employees

Budgeting, Capital Investments, and Real Estate

  • Cost Considerations
  • Developing an Ideal Location

Marketing & Communications

  • Targeting Different Audiences
  • Marketing Mediums & Resources

Snacks will be available throughout the day. Lunch is provided.

Wednesday, March 10th

Coffee and bagels will be available at the morning workshop. Lunch is on your own.


The Spring 2021 SMCo Thrift National Training Conference will be held at the Knoxville Convention Center. Situated adjacent to the World’s Fair Park in downtown Knoxville, this beautiful venue boasts great meeting spaces and delicious refreshments. Within walking distance of dozens of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues, this space will help make this event one to remember.

Recommended Hotel

Enjoy a wonderful stay at the Hilton Knoxville! The hotel is walking distance from the Knoxville Convention Center and many wonderful local restaurants.

Area Restaurants

Dozens of amazing restaurants are within walking distance of The Knoxville Convention Center and area hotels. Make plans to enjoy your own “taste of Knoxville” during your visit.

Planning Your Trip

Getting to Knoxville doesn’t need to be difficult. Located at the intersection of I-40 and I-75, a road trip is easy for many. McGhee-Tyson airport (TYS) is a great mid-sized airport served by all the major airlines (with short security lines). And plan to enjoy all the benefits of Knoxville by extending your stay through the weekend. If you need help planning your trip, let us know and we’ll contact you.


We want our attendees to be aware of the best products and services available to help you Do Thrift Better. So joining us at each conference are some of the best resource providers in their business, including …

  • Point of sale
  • Merchant services
  • Bale / Recycle
  • Direct marketing
  • Packaging
  • Trash consulting
  • Truck leasing
  • Wholesaler
  • Mattresses

Previous vendors have included:

If you’re interested in participating in the upcoming conference as a vendor, contact the SMCo Thrift team to learn more about the opportunity or sign up here.


Registration for each in-person attendee is $445 and includes access to all general sessions, workshops, and the in-store workshops on the final day. 

Virtual registration is $1,495 and includes access to all sessions and workshops on March 8th to 10th. Your site license allows for an unlimited number of attendees at your site.

Registration is non-refundable but transferable to another member of your organization.

For additional information, please contact the SMCo Thrift team to have your questions addressed personally.