Sour economy sweetens thrift store deals

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on January 6, 2011 at 12:26 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 6 at 12:54 AM

DALLAS — Bargain buying has become a boom in this down economy.

Discount stores just finished one of their best years ever. Some chains are planning to expand. Other stores already have.

And thrift stores are booming.

"We just added an additional 2,200 square feet here at the Genesis Benefit Thrift Store," said Jan Edgar Langbein, executive director of Genesis Women's Shelter.

Few thrift stores in Dallas are as popular as this place at Knight Street and Lemmon Avenue in the Oak Lawn section of Dallas.

Call it a sign of the times, but last year — in this bad economy — the non-profit made more money than ever before.

"We had net proceeds of almost $475,000, which is about a 20 percent increase over last year," Langbein said.

That income helps keep Genesis Women's Shelter open.

On Monday, Dollar General announced it will build more than 600 new stores nationwide. Plus, Urban Market, a grocery store in downtown Dallas, recently turned 4,000 square feet of unused space into its own dollar store.

It's more evidence that good deals are becoming big business.

Bargain shopping has clearly grown since the economy soured. But it's not just a trend. Experts like Mike Davis at SMU Cox School of Business say it reflects a shift in how people shop.

"Online is more important now," Davis said. "The strip centers are more important now. And there are probably going to be things happening in retail we can't predict right now."

Things like the rise of bargain buys.

Established yet growing thrift stores like Genesis have helped solidify discount shops in retail sales.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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