How to Set up a Thrift Store

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Setting up a thrift store is an interesting venture. The project involves getting familiar with the methods of doing business, determining the right location for your store, finding merchandise sources and procuring licenses to sell different products.

Get familiar with the basics of setting up a thrift store. Have a good eye to locate the best deals on different products. Consider the future demand for those products to figure out how quickly they would sell. Also, look for charitable items that your friends are willing to donate.

Find the right location for the thrift store. Running a thrift store successfully requires you to find a location where you get a lot of customers. Keep in mind that the high traffic areas can be more costly. Get in touch with a real estate agent to find the right location within your price range.

Decide on the inventory. You may want to diversify and offer a wide line of merchandise ranging from kitchen items to clothing, or specialize in one particular area such as furniture, used books, clothing and so on. If you have a valid business license, you can purchase stock directly from manufacturers at wholesale price and sell it for a profit. Or, if you have a personal collection of any item(s) you're willing to sell, you may offer it at the store. For instance, if you have a huge collection of books, you could offer them for sale in your store. Likewise, a veteran may want to sell his collection of military gear and other equipment in the thrift store.

Figure out your merchandise sources. If you qualify as a 501 c(3) non-profit organization, you can issue tax-deductible receipts for donations. You can also accept donations if you don’t qualify. In this case, however, you won’t be able to issue a receipt for charitable deductions to the benefactor.

Consider selling on consignment. Paying a percentage of the selling price to people who place their items for sale in your thrift store will allow you to increase your inventory without much investment. Make sure that the shelves are fully stocked with the items your customers are looking for before opening your doors to them.

Procure licenses for selling different products in your thrift store. Different states have different requirements for running a business such as state license, Employer Identification Number and a sales tax number.

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About the Author

Joanne Cichetti has written articles and Web content professionally since 2009, focusing primarily on health and lifestyle. In order to further pursue her writing career professionally, Cichetti inducted herself in the Long Ridge Writers Group, and she looks forward to having a novel published under their guidance.

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  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images