At the Apple Core store in Rocky River, owner Joyce Lundmark was putting up a lovely long dress on special display Wednesday afternoon. Before it was brought into the store, someone spent $441.00 on the designer threads. In Lundmark's shop, the dress will be marked down more than $300.
This store is packed with designer labels and high-end fashion, all gently worn that look brand new.
"Look at this. I bought this Talbots sweater for $14," Donna Baltas, a customer, said. "I mean it's unbelievable. This would be $55 dollars in the Talbots store. My husband doesn't appreciate it that I am saving him all this money."
Across town at Plato's Closet in Strongsville, younger shoppers love this second-hand store. Debbie Derrico owns this franchise location and makes sure all the hottest teen labels are sold at huge discounts.
"This hoodie sells for around $50 brand new at the Abercrombie and Fitch store in the mall," Derrico said. "Here it's gently used and $18."
Wednesday is "Family Day" at the huge Salvation Army Thrift store on Pearl Road. The parking lot is packed. This huge operation goes through 5,000 clothing items every day. The average price runs between $2 and $4 per item.
Not all the shoppers want their friends and neighbors to know that they bargain hunt at the Salvation Army. Many believe there is still a stigma for shopping at thrift stores.
One shopper said, "If you put me on camera, all the people will know where I shop. I don't tell them where I shop."
Pam O'Neal, the manager of the Strongsville Salvation Army Family store, told Channel 3' News, "This is the best kept secret. We have quality donations coming from our suburbs with the price tags still on them. You name the brand name and you can find them here."
Tracy Kulesa wheeled her daughter in a shopping cart down a long aisle packed with women's blouses.
"I have no shame about shopping at a second hand store," Kulesa said. "Our budget is tight and I can't afford to go to the mall and pay full price."
There are now more than 50 salvage or second-hand stores in the Cleveland area.
With the economy pushing many families to find ways to save money, the number of shoppers looking for used clothing items has skyrocketed.
At Apple Core, Lundmark said women who shop at her store actually brag to their friends about the money saved by buying "used."
"Besides, what difference does it make if it's new or used," Lundmark said. "Who cares where you bought it and furthermore, who cares?"
Second-hand clothes shopper Erica Pupkiewicz said, "Hey, if you want to go out and spend $150 dollars when you can get the same for $8 or whatever, be my guest. I have a family of three so therefore, I just save money this way."
The Salvation Army Thrift store in Strongsville is the highest volume location among the eight Salvation Army shops in the Cleveland area.
Here are the locations of the Salvation Army stores:
- 8623 Pearl Road, Strongsville, (440) 239-1350
- 37000 Heisley Road, Mentor, (440) 255-1487
- 6990 Biddulph Road, Brooklyn, (216) 635-1659
- 5919 Mayfield Road, Mayfield Heights, (440) 449-0656
- 5005 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, (216) 881-2625
- 165 East Cleveland Street, Elyria, (440) 323-3977
- 4633 Northfield Road, North Randall, (216) 475-6878
- 30450 Lakeshore Blvd. Willowick, (440) 944-2825
is located at 19347 Detroit Rd, Rocky River, OH
Phone: (440) 356-4747
Owner: Joyce Lundmark.Plato's Closet
now has three locations in the Cleveland area, all specializing in resale clothing aimed at the teenage market.
15205 Pearl Rd, Strongsville
Phone: (440) 878-5085
Owner: Debbie Derrico
Other Plato's Closet locations:
- 7689 Mentor Ave., Mentor, (440) 602-9790
- 4636 Great Northern Blvd, North Olmsted, (440) 801-9088
MCC Connections in Kidron, Ohio. (Wayne County)
PO Box 19 Kidron Road, Kidron Ohio
Manager: Bill Ressler assisted by Arlene Rhinehart.
Open 6 days a week 9-5, and on Thursdays until eight p.m.
Ratsy's Store Upstairs at Campbell House Antiques
95 S. Main Street (Rt. 58)
Oberlin, OH 44074
Vintage Clothing & Household Decor for Contemporary Moderns
Mon-Sat:11am-5pm Sun: 12-5