Running to the thrift shop. What makes thrift shops so popular in Erie? (2024)

Nicholas SorensenErie Times-News

Thrift shops are becoming a more economical way for people to save money while shopping for unique items, but what makes them so popular in Erie?

Resale stores are an increasing retail segment that has experienced growth of approximately 7% a year for the past two years, according to the National Association of Resale Professionals. A report by First Research notes 62% of millennial and Generation Z shoppers search for thrifted items before purchasing new. reports that 13% of millennials are now shopping at thrift stores at least once a week. Thrift stores, according to First Research, include resale shops, consignment shops, thrift shops and antique stores.

Where are some of the best thrift stores in Erie?

Erie is filled with thrift stores from chains including Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries International, to family-owned secondhand stores.

Here is a list of local thrift shops around the area:

  • AMVETS Erie: 3424 Liberty St. 814-813-1900.
  • Bargain Basem*nt: 3735 W. Lake Road.
  • City Mission Shop and Drop Off: 2064 W. 15th St. 814-487-8189.
  • City Mission Thrifty Shopper: 10081 Ridge Road. Unit 1, Girard. 814-402-1154.
  • Claudine's: 2280 W. 8th St. 814-873-2292.
  • Cobbs Second Time Around Thrift Shop: 1215 Parade St. 814-455-4068.
  • Early Birds Discount Store: 3830 Liberty St. 814-340-1399.
  • Erie Bargains LLC: 11 Clinton St., North East. 814-667-4177.
  • Finders Keepers of Erie: 1250 Brown Ave. 814-461-6424.
  • Goodwill Harbor Creek Boutique: 4270 E. Lake Road.
  • Goodwill Summit Towne Center: 7200 Peach St. 814-866-4762.
  • Green Scene Thrift Store: 1301 E. Grandview Blvd. 814-580-1074.
  • Mel & Tees Secondhand & Estate: 4915 Hillsdale Ave. 814-881-7724.
  • NY Discount Store: 1207 State St. 814-456-0009.
  • Once Upon A Child: 7200 Peach St. Unit 160. 814-866-3803.
  • Oregon Antiques: 3436 W. Lake Road. 814-836-0737.
  • Plato's Closet: 7200 Peach St. Unit 115. 814-866-9822.
  • Rainbow Connection Thrift Store: 1516 Buffalo Road. 814-453-4080.
  • Salvation Army Thrift Store: 1944 Keystone Drive. 800-728-7825.
  • The Sassy Peaco*ck: 845 Pittsburgh Ave. 814-833-0517.
  • Thrift Haven: 4455 W. Ridge Road.
  • Thrift Witch Revolved Magickal Finds: 2726 W. 8th St. 814-790-5488.
  • 4 N.I.N.E. Thrift Store: 49 Smedley St., North East. 814-725-9804.
  • 419 Artifacts: 301 W. 10th St.

What draws people to thrift shops?

Thrift shoppers seek out stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army to find not only unique and antique items, but daily necessities such as clothing, and even books and furniture.

“Prior to the growth of thrift shops over the last couple of decades, I think the analogy would be there are estimates of how much the average family saves by shopping for groceries at say Walmart or discount grocery stores compared to major grocery chains,” said Dr. Kenneth Louie, director of the Economic Research Institute of Erie. “It’s substantial enough to induce people to take advantage of those savings.”

A good example would be simple clothing. A pair of men’s jeans at Old Navy costs between $20 and $41.99 on sale. At the Salvation Army at 1209 Sassafras St., a pair of men’s jeans costs $14.99.

Books and DVD movies could cost between 49 cents to $2 at a thrift store and are still in usable conditions.

Shoppers can even find unique items including medical equipment or perfumes for sale.

Get a bargain, help a vet: New AMVETS thrift store open in Erie's Liberty Center

Inflation leads to thrifting

People will also tend to head toward thrift stores because of inflation. Over the past year, consumers have seen the impacts of inflation on daily items.

“The most conspicuous reason recently is inflation,” Louie said. “Although it has been coming down, inflation is still higher than the consumer would like. If you go back to the last 18 months or so, it was even higher. That has been a major reason for the growth and popularities of thrift stores as people try to economize on their budget.”

Environmental impact

Have you ever considered the environmental impact of thrift shopping?

It’s the shopping version of recycling where one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Items found at thrift stores can also be refurbished and created into something new.

“There’s a greater awareness of environmental issues,” Louie said. “There’s concern with depletable resources and helping along those lines by recycling, reusing clothing, utensils, clothing or books. People are more conscious about the impact on the environment. It’s somewhat economic but more of a social reason.”

The minimalist mindset while thrifting

Thrift stores are also popular because people can make donations and easily drop off unwanted items around the house.

A popular trend in today’s world is adopting the minimalist mindset while getting rid of household clutter.

Some people will consider making donations to thrift stores rather than just tossing an item in the garbage if it can still go to good use.

Other people also tend to make donations to get a tax deduction.

“It depends on circ*mstances as you can deduct up to a certain amount, and it depends on your overall deductions compared to your standard deductions as to whether it will benefit you,” Louie said. “For many people it will not ultimately be beneficial but, certainly for people who have lots of deductions, yes that can add to the amount that you can deduct from your taxable income.”

Contact Nicholas Sorensen at

Running to the thrift shop. What makes thrift shops so popular in Erie? (2024)


Why are thrift stores so popular? ›

The ThredUp report found sustainability was among the top five motivators for Gen Z when it comes to how they spend on apparel. As secondhand shoppers feel like they're saving something from ending up in a landfill, buying used clothing is no longer viewed as inferior to buying new.

Why has thrifting become a trend? ›

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the consumer craze for “thrifting hauls,” and consumption habits started to rise. Due to the increased amount of downtime on nearly everyone's hands, many turned to online thrift shopping to scavenge for more and more clothes and even hotter deals.

Why is thrifting the best way to shop? ›

Because second-hand items are typically sold for less than the original retail price, they are a more accessible option for those on a budget. It's also a great way to find high-quality items that may have been too expensive to purchase new. Another benefit of thrifting is that it helps the community.

What sells the most in thrift stores? ›

Clothing. Clothing is an item that sells best in thrift stores. Accounting for 31.8 percent of industry revenue, clothing is the largest revenue generator in the Thrift Stores industry, according to IBISWorld. Instead of paying higher retail prices, many people are switching to thrift stores for their clothing needs.

When did thrifting become popular? ›

The thrift movement:

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a thrift movement began to gain momentum. This movement emphasized saving money, being frugal and repurposing items, values that aligned with the economic challenges of the time, including the Great Depression.

What type of people like thrifting? ›

Why? They Love the "Vintage" Look.

What age group thrifts the most? ›

The Thrift Sales Boom

According to research by the resale app Mercari, millennial and Gen Z shoppers are buying secondhand items 250% faster than other age groups. 40% of shoppers who buy used clothes are under the age of 35, according to online thrift retailer thredUP.

What is the best day to go thrifting? ›

According to Goodwill, the perfect time slot to shop at thrift stores is in the morning on both Monday and Tuesday. This is because, at least as far as Goodwill is concerned, people tend to donate garage sale remnants on Sunday, so the pickings are new and fresh come early weekdays.

What is the goal of thrifting? ›

Thrift shopping is not only a fun way to find unique finds, but it's also a way to give back to the community. Goodwill's mission is to end poverty through the power of work. By shopping at or donating to Goodwill, you're helping Goodwill provide no-cost career services to the community.

Why does everyone thrift now? ›

People began to seek out unique, one-of-a-kind pieces to stand out from the crowd. Enter the era of vintage and second-hand clothing. Thrift stores became the go-to destination for fashion-forward individuals looking to express their style in a more affordable and sustainable way.

Why is Gen Z into thrifting? ›

For Gen Z, thrifting is more than just an affordable practice; it's a form of self-expression. With a wide range of one-of-a-kind items in thrift stores, they're able to find unique pieces that reflect their personal style. Some Gen Zers view thrifting and reselling as a challenge to find the diamond in the rough.

Why is thrifting so expensive now? ›

“Firstly, the cost of operations — including rent, utilities and wages — has increased over time. Secondly, the quality and brand of donated items can also influence pricing. High-end brands or items in excellent condition may be priced higher.

What is the best city for thrifting? ›

Here is the definitive list of the best cities for thrifting in the country. According to our data, the top five cities for thrifting in the U.S. are Riverside, CA, Atlanta, GA, Columbus, OH, Orlando, FL, and Tampa, FL.

What's the best item to resale? ›

Vintage Clothes Are Among the Best-Selling Items

Reselling shoes and sneakers, vintage jewelry and accessories, but also, kitchenware and entertainment products can also be very profitable.

What second hand items sell best? ›

High-demand items include branded sneakers, vintage T-shirts, and designer jackets, all of which have a dedicated buyer base. The key to success is pricing goods appropriately. Know brand values and current fashion trends to enhance sales potential. Capitalize on limited-edition sneakers or a classic leather jacket.

Why does Gen Z like thrifting? ›

And Generation Z (those born between 1997 to 2012) really loves the hunt. With a hunger for individuality and sustainability, Gen Z is helping push the growth of secondhand clothing resale. Used clothing retailer ThredUp estimates that the global resale market could boom in value to $350 billion by 2027.

Why are thrift stores so expensive now? ›

The popularity of thrifting has created an inflation in the prices these thrift companies can get away with. The modern generation is also quick to blame TikTok and reselling apps for the rise of thrift prices. And, while not the main contributor, these apps have proved to be a threat to thrift stores.

Is thrifting becoming gentrified? ›

The main problems with the increase in thrifting today stem from corporate greed and gentrifiers reselling stock, or just ignoring neighborhood customs and not supporting local businesses.

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