Local Consignment Shop Owners See Increase in Business

By: Christy Hendricks

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - While retailers see sales slump nationwide, one type of business is booming with new customers.

Local consignment shops usually see their sales drop during the holiday season, but local stores say it seems the weak economy may be driving more people to their shops looking to save some cash.

"A lot of new customers, faces that we haven't seen before coming in," said Debbie Petzoldt, owner of Annie Kate's Consignment and Resale in Cape Girardeau.

That's the trend nationwide.  According to the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops, 74 percent of their members saw an increase in sales in September and October compared to those months in 2007.
It seems local shoppers are looking for more than just a bargain.
"With everything that's going on in our economy right now people are nervous," Petzoldt said. "They're scared.  They're not really knowing it things are going to get better."
However, that nervousness translates to some green for area consignment shop owners.
"Shoppers are a lot more conscientious about the money that they're spending and are trying to make wiser choices as far as different ways to save money," said Crissy Batchelor, owner of Kid's Wear Again in Cape Girardeau.
Consignment shop owners in downtown Cape say more people have been filling their stores the past few months.
Staci Class was shopping for school uniforms for her son on Saturday.
"I always check consignment shops because it's cheaper than buying them from the uniform places and anywhere you can save a little bit of money," Class said.  "I've got three boys at home and a little girl on the way so a lot of times that's why I'll come in to consignment shops."
Something different from years past, both store owners say toy sales during this past Christmas season were up as more people shop consignment to save a few bucks.
"We kinda used the economy to our advantage to sell more stuff for Christmas whereas people before may not have necessarily thought of coming down here," Batchelor said.
Not only are customers looking to save money, but make some along the way.
"Lots of people bringing in items to sell cause they're needing the money," Petzoldt said. 
That's a win, win for store owners with more merchandise and more shoppers.