New thrift stores open on Mahoning Avenue

The People Thrift Store on Mahoning Avenue in Youngstown opened in August. Owners of three thrift stores, which share a 1-mile stretch on this busy route, say business is thriving.(Lee Murray/TheNewsOutlet.org)

Aired October 31, 2012 on WYSU

During a down economy, few businesses can claim to be thriving. One exception to this rule is the burgeoning thrift store industry. Lee Murray brings us the story.

A stretch of Mahoning Avenue less than a mile long has seen two new thrift store locations open within the past two months. Johnny Rivers owns the fledgling People Thrift Store. 

People who used to pass up thrift stores have come to the conclusion that a thrift store is the place to shop.

Perhaps there is a stigma attached to shopping for somebody else’s castaways. None of the half-dozen customers here wanted to go on tape to speak about their purchases. But Rivers thinks that public perception of used goods is changing.

People are not … ashamed to let the public know that they shop at thrift stores. I think now, American peoples are accepting reality as it is. A thrift store is a place where you can save money, and achieve the same success as you would at, say, Walmart)

Rivers operation is for-profit. His new business faces competition from Family Outreach Thrift Store, which has moved from a plaza to a stand-alone storefront not far from his business. They are a registered non-profit organization and John Zucco, the owner of the store, says part of its mission is to help the community.

Being a charity, we really don’t make too much money. All the money that we make is through our store here, for our overhead to pay our rent and things like that.

Whether motivated by profit or charity, these new ventures on Mahoning are busy. Time will tell whether they can maintain their popularity, but with the recession still holding on to valley residents’ purse strings, business prospects, for now, look good.

Reporting for TheNewsOutlet.org, I’m Lee Murray.

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