In times of economic crisis, thrift stores are turning out record profits. Those feeling the financial pinch as well as bargain hunters cannot resist a trip through a good thrift store. Running a thrift store can be a challenge. Like any business, thrift stores have costs to cover, and their low prices mean less cash flow to meet their financial commitments. Cutting costs where possible is essential.

Things You Will Need
  • Premises

  • Stock contacts

Step 1.

Select a good store location. Renting your premises will be one of the largest costs in running your thrift store. Try to find something that is cheap but still cost effective. A low-rent store in an area with little commercial traffic will be a false economy.

Step 2.

Make contacts with charity-affiliated thrift stores. Charities such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill run their own chains of thrift stores. However, they quite often seek out for-profit thrift store owners to help with the sale of their stock. Usually, the for-profit vendor will sell their items for a portion of the profits. This is a very cost-effective method for getting stock and attracting customers into your store.

Step 3.

Offer a house-clearing service. This can be an excellent way to get items for next to nothing. People will jump at the chance to have their attics, closets and garages cleared. You charge nothing for the service, but in exchange you keep what is taken away. This is a very cost-effective way to get clothes, furniture and used appliances.

Step 4.

Offer part-time jobs to friends and family members. Running a thrift store is busy work. Offering friends and family members part-time jobs can cut costs. You can keep payment at minimum-wage levels or offer items from your store in exchange for help.

Step 5.

Sell items on consignment. This means you pay nothing for the item but take a percentage of the profits once the item has been sold. This is similar to selling items on behalf of charities, only in this instance you can be slightly more selective about the items you sell.


Garage sales can be excellent places to find items to sell. They are also great ways to see what people are buying.

Consider a website where customers can purchase items online. It’s great advertising for your store and a way to move stock cheaply.