Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thrift Stores Thrive As Economy Tanks

By Ben Arnoldy
Alameda, Calif. – Americans are rediscovering the fusty fix-it shops and unassuming secondhand stores on their local Main Streets. These businesses, once the left-behind nooks of gentrifying downtowns, are busier than ever amid an economic slump that's emptied out neighboring bistros, boutiques, and day spas.

On a Saturday afternoon in downtown Alameda, Calif., Gabe Morgan waits in a line of customers at The Watch Hospital to get a timepiece fixed. The economic downturn has made him think more about repairing than buying new.

"For the first time in I don't remember how long, I got some shoes repaired," says Mr. Morgan. He dug out three pairs from his closet for resoling. "I wanted to save some money."

For decades, repair and reuse have been fading ethics, upheld mainly by environmentalists and people on the economic margins. As hard times drive these values back into the mainstream, champions of reuse caution that some government policies and business practices threaten to set back the movement.

"We were a mend-and-make-do society, and we have completely changed. We don't fix anything anymore. We use, throw away, and buy more," says Bruce Buckelew, a former IBM engineer who has repaired more than 30,000 computers and put them into public schools, nonprofits, and low-income households in Oakland, Calif. "The worse the stock market gets and the bleaker the job market, the better for reuse, actually."

Some early signs:(For complete article)


Paris Atelier said...

Let's pull our resources and open up shop! It is an interesting (and eye opening) article. I never realized how I do just use something and then just get rid of it. It sounds like it's time to take an inventory of how much I waste. I should take it back a notch to a time when my Grandmother would mend socks, or my Mom would repurpose the materials from her old clothing. Good for the pocketbook & good for the enviroment!
Great post my Friend!

Beaux Mondes Designs said...

Thanks Judith! I'm guilty of the same things. However, I think I've gotten better within the last 8 months.

Cote de Texas said...

We are such a throw away society, maybe we all need a lesson???

thanks for your wonderful comment, much appreciated!!!