Business casual victim of COVID?
But as people shifted from working in an office to working from home, the demand for high-end resale clothing plummeted.
When Refashion opened its doors to customers in June, the departure left their casual shelves cold.
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“There were a few weeks there when we reopened, we had four people on the whole week,” said Alisha Arguello, co-owner of the store.
However, she saw an opportunity as other retailers struggled to meet customer needs. Customers looking for furniture were happy to see something they could take home that day.
“I heard people say that (the furniture) was out about four weeks,” Arguello said.
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As people began to clean, renovate and renovate their homes, some items, such as appliances and furniture, became scarce.
Owners Rob and Alisha Arguello have started to acquire more furniture. Alisha said they are picky about the condition of the pieces they accept because they are in competition with showrooms.
For Refashion’s customers, beautiful furniture turned out to be an attractive choice over newer furniture later.
To expand the store’s furniture offering, the Arguellos moved the store to a larger location at River Center Plaza on North Broadway. They also bought a truck to be able to deliver furniture. Staff then began posting new acquisitions online, including on eBay and social media shopping sites.
“The pandemic has changed the way we do things,” said Alisha Arguello. “It forced us to live with our time. “
At Savers, items for kids – and for parents who ended up at home with kids – were popular, said Michelle Verna, director of the South Broadway Savers.
Books, some toys and home school supplies were in high demand during the pandemic, she said.
The thrift store also saw an increase in donated items.
“People were more at home,” said Verna. “And when they’re no longer at home, they tend to declutter.”
Savers withheld most furniture donations due to distancing guidelines in place at the store. Parts that required the movement of two people were not accepted until these guidelines were lifted.
“We had an informal rule that if a person could put it on a cart and get it into the store, we would take it,” she said.
Rochester Stores Partner with Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota. Items donated to Savers are actually donated to the association. Savers then pay for the items to DAVM and then sell them to the retail store.
Verna said the pandemic gave staff the ability to restructure the store and its layout to allow customers to follow state distancing guidelines. It also gave the store a new look, she added.
At Refashion, clothing sales are back, but the flagship items are now sportswear. Work clothes have not rebounded, Arguello said.
“We can hardly sell a costume now,” she said. “But good hoodies won’t stay long.”