Thrift store as a business

Thrift Store business plan templates

Discarded clothing is perfect for thrift stores.Discarded clothing is perfect for thrift stores.

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Today's thrift stores are trendy, specialized and in high demand, which means they're rising in popularity. If you enjoy discount shopping or have a passion for vintage, retro, or high fashion items, a thrift store business could be for you. There are many directions for this business, but no matter what your focus, a strong business plan, quality inventory and great marketing skills are a must.

1. Create a business plan for your thrift store. Decide whether you will sell a variety of items, or focus on selling antiques, vintage furniture, used clothing or other items. Consider whether your target market will be low-income families, affluent citizens in search of high-end vintage items or others. Visit or research other local thrift stores, determine who their target market is and whether they are meeting the needs of that market. Consider how you can differentiate your business from competitors through your inventory or prices. Make a list of supplies and assess how much money you will need to get your store off the ground. Give your business a name that sends an attractive message to your target market and encourages them to shop with you. Incorporate what makes your store original into your name. For example, if you will specialize in name-brand used clothing for less, try to get this idea into your business name.

2. License and insure your business. Apply for a business license at your city clerk’s office. Insure your merchandise against theft and damage, and take out liability coverage in case customers sustain any injuries while in your store.

3. Look for a great location. Search for rental spaces in areas that get a lot of car and foot traffic, especially those in areas where your target market is likely to live or shop. Look for a spot that has large display windows to display attractive items. Consider whether competing businesses are nearby: locating your business near competitors can be a pro or a con. Many thrift shoppers like to shop at several stores per trip, but make sure your prices and offerings are in line with competitors if you open nearby.

4. Gather merchandise. Frequent yard sales, cheap thrift shops and estate sales to look for good deals on used items. Collect undamaged items from alleys and curbsides and fix them up before sale. Search online for wholesalers that may offer good deals on used clothing sold in bulk. Request donations and offer to pick them up from donors or create a donation drop-off at your store location if you’ve already moved in.

5. Market your thrift store. Create fliers and business cards to distribute to potential customers you meet. Include the types of items you sell and emphasize what makes your store original. Tack up fliers on local bulletin boards near retailers where your target market is likely to shop. Plan a grand opening that will attract your clientele. A high-end vintage shop might hold a wine event as part of the opening; a shop specializing in used children's clothing might have games for kids to play. Display a sign-up sheet where potential customers can sign up for your mailing list. Email customers on a regular basis with coupons or inventory updates.

Things Needed

  • Business license
  • Storefront or rental space
  • Merchandise
  • Marketing materials
Source: smallbusiness.chron.com
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