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Craig Pedersen, Hope Gospel Mission – Run Your Thrift Store Like A Business

by | Dec 13, 2022

Episode Summary

Kyle Payton and Craig Pedersen of Hope Gospel Mission talk about the vital role running a thrift business can do to help support an extended rescue mission. They discuss how keeping an eye on sales reports will give thrift store operators insight into how they can realize substantial profit growth.

In addition Craig shares how Hope Gospel Missions attention to customer relationships has allowed them to better understand what stock is important to keep fresh. They also have a better understanding of how to optimize when to rotate merchandise.

Key Insights

  • Take advantage of the information you gather from your POS.
  • Adjust your prices to optimize revenue and stock rotation.
  • Give each location and demographic a comfortable price to maximize profits.

Episode Highlights

  • Our cashiers know the names of our regular customers. We have tens of thousands of customers in our frequent shopper program that ThriftCart helped us set up, and we see their buying habits and we see how often they want to come back. Just because of the experience that they get there that they can’t get at a big box or an online retailer.
  • We use ThriftCart and the barcodes and the reports that we’ve built with you to look at when things sell. And if it’s selling too quickly because they’re buying it to resell at a great profit, we’re gonna slowly increase the price exactly at two or three or four dollars in clothing or in books or in the household goods.
  • We wanna see about 80% of everything we put out there sell within the first three weeks. That’s our goal. We consider our prices to be in our target zone, if that’s the case, if they’re selling too quickly.
  • They’re voting with their wallet every moment they check out. And by using the data that ThriftCart is capturing, we can adjust our prices very specifically.
  • In our little tiny town of a few thousand people in a rural area, we’re gonna have a different price point for some of the clothing than we would in a metro of 80,000 people. And so, It’s very easily tailorable if you look at those things through the point of sale system.

Guest Bio

Craig Pedersen is the Operations Director at Hope Gospel Mission. Craig joined the staff of Hope Gospel Mission in 2003 and has led the ministry to develop Hope Gospel Mission’s 3 Bargain Centers, Building Hope and Hope Gospel Auto. 



[00:00:21] Kyle Peyton: So Craig, obviously thank you for being here for the inaugural Thrifty Business Podcast, so I appreciate you coming out and spending the time. 

[00:00:29] Craig Pedersen: Well, thanks for having me. It’s exciting. 

[00:00:30] Kyle: Yeah, absolutely. So really just kind of wanted, on this inaugural session, is really to allow you to kind of give us a rundown of what Hope Gospel Mission is all about, a little bit of your background and how you guys fit into the thrift industry. So, turn it over to you. 

[00:00:46] Craig: Sure, well, Hope’s a rescue mission. We’ve been here 25 years, next year, and really we serve men, women, and children, trying to really help them rebuild their lives and become really all that God intended them to be.

[00:00:59] They come to us with a lot of different backgrounds. But 92% have root issues related to drug or alcohol overuse, which we know is really just a symptom of, you know, the trauma that they’ve experienced in their life. And so, over the course of about a year and a half, we unwind all of that with them, with counselors and chaplains and educators and our local tech college. It’s a very deep dive into rebuilding their life. And three quarters of our overall budget is paid for by thrift. So, our whole budget’s about $6 million and the lion’s share of that funding for all of those counselors and the shelter and just all of it comes from our thrift stores. 

[00:01:41] Kyle: Oh, that’s fantastic. What a beautiful cause and that’s really what we enjoy here with Thrift Cart is being able to support people, obviously with the causes that, you know, add back to society like that. So you mentioned your thrift business. How many locations do you guys have? 

[00:01:54] Craig: We have three traditional thrift stores. A building material and office furniture and traditional furniture store, where we also do paid by the pound clothing. And then we have an auto dealership, so four stores and plus the auto, four stores. 

[00:02:08] Kyle: And those four stores you said manifest, how much of your guys’ budget was that? 

[00:02:12] Craig: About 75%. 

[00:02:14] Kyle: Wow. Wow. That’s amazing. 

[00:02:16] Craig: But about 120 employees and well over three quarters of those are in the social enterprises, the thrift stores. 

[00:02:23] Kyle: Oh, fantastic. Now, do you guys allow any, so people in your program, do they also work at the thrift? 

[00:02:29] Craig: We encourage it. You know, we really see each individual as a whole person needing many different pieces of the puzzle to be successful. So we work with them on finance, we work with ’em on mental health, physical health, spiritual health. And a component of that is just being able to support themselves with employment. And so we use many different things at the mission. We have a full service kitchen with a chef and there’s a five week track in food service. Our maintenance guys are up on the roof changing filters and there’s participants in the program for five weeks helping them plow the parking lots and work on the HVAC equipment and build buildings, the same in our stores. 

[00:03:06] And so we treat our stores like a little mini factory. We can talk for a long time about how thrift is not traditional retail at all. mm-hmm. It’s a lot more with the metrics of like a production facility, if you do it right and we’re able to track things like pieces per hour put out in clothing, and that translates very well to the real world job market. 

[00:03:26] For instance, to be competitive in that position, every 30 seconds you need to put a garment on a hanger and put the price tag on it and, you know, get it ready to put out on the floor. So 120 pieces per hour is our goal for paid. Well, let’s say a resident hasn’t worked in years, possibly, you know, sobriety may not be part of their recent history, or they may have been incarcerated or, you know, everybody comes to us with a different story, but they need to leave, not able just to get a job, but to keep their next job. And so through the job training, the hands-on job training, when they’re not in school half a day, they’re in our businesses. And we’ll keep track and say, all right, Joe, you did 60 pieces today. We know that until Joe gets to 120 pieces, he’s not gonna keep that next job, but fantastic job. Let’s do 70 pieces tomorrow, and we just encourage them from the employer’s point of view, what it looks like to keep that next job and what skills it takes.

[00:04:21] Kyle: Well, that’s amazing. Those metrics. So how did you guys, is that, those metrics that you came up with 120 pieces an hour, is that just through attrition or where was that baseline established? 

[00:04:30] Craig: We were started in 2003 here when I came on, at the thrift store through the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions. That association, now called Citygate, there’s well over a hundred of us in that association of 300 that have thrift stores, or have had thrift stores, or plan to have thrift stores. And we get together with other Christian thrift stores at the Association of Christian Thrift Stores conference every January, typically in Florida. And there was a gentleman for over 50 years. His name was Dr. Ed Gray. He was the father of thrift in the Christian world in all over the United States, started hundreds of stores for people as a consultant, and he originally started to help us with metrics, and as we traveled to dozens of other thrift stores around the country, we had different people’s points of view on how many pieces it would take and exactly what the standard would be. And we typically see our head producers putting out 140 to 160 pieces per hour. So even the 120 is just a baseline that’s commonly accepted across thrift. 

[00:05:33] Kyle: Wow. So when you say from a production standpoint, so, 120 pieces are, what’s that kind of process look like? Obviously would it be safe to assume that most of your product is from donations, in-kind donations?

[00:05:43] Craig: Yeah. You know, by IRS code it needs to be over 85% of what we get in donated goods, and then up to 15% purchase goods and we supplement a little bit. You know, we don’t get good socks and belts and purses and undergarments and things like that donated. So we supplement when we can with purchase. But yes, the lion’s share of our product is donated and it’s like having grandma’s basement dumped on you 10 times a day. Thrift is interesting. You never know. It’s like Christmas every day, I like to say, you know, you don’t know what you’re gonna get.

[00:06:12] We start in the intake room and everything gets put on wheels. We don’t wanna lift and we do ergonomics training. You know, we want to see the books go in this cage and the household goods, we call it brick and breck, go in this cage and the clothing all opened up and put over here separate from linens and shoes and so on. And so in our clothing department, we’re gonna have a presort where men’s is in a pile, women’s is a pile and children’s clothing’s in a pile. And we do our best to take out the rips, tears, stains, broken buttons, broken zippers, the things that are unsellable, the excessive wear. Mm-hmm. . And in the ideal setup, that’s a volunteer or a program participant or someone that’s on light duty from a local manufacturer or nursing home, and they’re injured and they’re here doing light duty work.

[00:06:53] That’s typically, ideally, not a paid position in the thrift store, but then the lead we call each department head leads, and our lead used to manage five goodwill stores. She’s 75 and she’s here because she loves what we do, she has a tremendous work ethic, and she and a few volunteers and maybe one other staff member might go through 40,000 garments in a week to find 8,000 sellable.

[00:07:17] And so she’s very quickly, three to five seconds looking at each shirt and each pair of pants and each dress and looking at that one last quality sort, of what’s usable and what’s not and then she’s putting it into a pricing bin at a set price point. And then on the other end of the table, the next person picks it up on the end, other side of that sorting bin, and they’re the ones that are putting the price tag on, putting the hangar on, writing the size on the garment, and then putting it up on the Z rack. And that’s where the 120 pieces per hour comes in. That’s our largest use of varying labor, volunteer labor, resident labor, part-time staff labor, is that tagging and hanging, that’s the really labor intensive part of the puzzle. And from there they can go out to the floor and be displayed. 

[00:08:00] Kyle: Wow. That’s, I mean, that’s such a hands-on process. I didn’t have any idea about the, yeah, it was very manual, very labor intensive. So, you mentioned something that I wanted to highlight. It sounds like about 80% of what you guys get actually ends up as being not sellable. So where does that go? 

[00:08:18] Craig: It goes all over the world. When you drive your car down the street, there’s a barrier between you and the firewall of your vehicle and if you pull back the carpet, you’ll see shredded blue jeans. Emergency blankets that the Red Cross gives out, shredded denim. There’s countries all over the world that, you know, in America we’re so blessed and we’re such focused consumers that if there’s a tear in my pair of jeans, I’m not gonna wear it. Now somebody else looks at a torn pair of jeans as, you know, that’s a $300 pair of jeans, you know, that’s, that’s not my pair of jeans for 300 bucks. 

[00:08:48] Kyle: But that’s fashion nowadays, apparently. 

[00:08:50] Craig: When your tennis shoes get a stain on ’em, you buy a new pair in the United States. Well, in India and Pakistan and China and Brazil and other places all around the world, they’re happy to wear our seconds. And so some of it gets shipped around the world and frankly, in most thrift stores, there are days that are so busy that people are unable to sort all that they got in today. And it goes into that recycling stream and the greater sell it back to Goodwill and Savers and America’s thrift and bales of A quality jeans and A quality shirts. So it gets back into use in some fashion. Very little of it gets put into the landfill. 

[00:09:26] Well, and that’s such a great thing about thrift in general, and I think as more and more consumers become very, you know, eco-conscious and very conscious about the reuse cycle and the planet and recycling, it’s great to hear that, you know, not only you guys take responsibility for that, what you can’t sell, that it goes back into the system and it goes back to, you know, places that will be used or, you know, countries and people that, you know, don’t mind things that we won’t wear. But it keeps that outta the landfill. I mean, that’s great to hear. 

[00:09:52] So what I kind of want to digress into, really just about kind of thrift overall. So right now, I mean obviously we’re in a challenging economy. What would you say is the most difficult part about, you know, being, you know, a nonprofit like yourself, but also having to run thrift, a thrift business to support you?

[00:10:09] Craig: Well, like, every business right now, or nearly every business, recruiting the right staff is the number one challenge. Thrift, as we discussed, is very labor intensive, and our staff work directly with our clients, so we want them to be mentors and, you know, helpers in the process of our rehabilitative programs. And so we don’t have the ability just to hire anyone. We’re looking for mature workers that are, you know, a faith-based influence on our residents and just a good leader even down to the most entry level position. And so the biggest challenge I see is retaining, recruiting, you know, just building that staff that can handle the incredible demand that is today’s reality.

[00:10:50] We’ve seen over 5% annual growth since we started 20 years ago, and these last couple years we’ve seen quite a bit more than that. Now I’ve run some recent research in a lot of studies it says thrift has grown at one to 3%. We’ve experienced much greater growth than that, especially after Covid.

[00:11:09] People don’t primarily shop thrift because they need more stuff. Americans have plenty of shoes and plenty of jeans, and sure, there’s back to school where the kid needs a new backpack. But people shop for social reasons and Covid shut us down, isolated us and online shopping as great as it is, does not fill the need for socialization. We see more customers come just because they like the social aspects of interacting with our staff and each other, and finding that deal. Just enjoying that whole experience more so than just needing more product. 

[00:11:48] Kyle: That’s a fantastic point. It leads me into another one. So obviously, I think the last statistic I read, there’s over 27,000 thrift shops, whether they be nonprofit or for-profit in America. With your guys’ local brand, would you say that localized experience is kind of what sets you apart from some of your competitors? 

[00:12:07] Craig: Well, absolutely. When you walk into a national retailer, right now, you’re being pushed towards a self-checkout line that is the least amount of human contact possible. A cashier at Walmart or wherever that’s ultra friendly actually gets penalized because her metrics show she’s not checking out enough people, or he, per hour. They’re penalized for customer service. We’ve flipped the retail experience on its head from what it was 10 or 20 or 30 years ago, and people are not enjoying it. You know, the wait on the phone for the next available customer service rep is the answer to almost every customer service experience with Corporate America. We offer something completely different. Our cashiers know the names of our regular customers. We have tens of thousands of customers in our frequent shopper program that ThriftCart helped us set up, and we see their buying habits and we see how often they want to come back just because of the experience that they get there that they can’t get at a big box or an online retailer. 

[00:13:11] Kyle: Yeah, and that’s a fantastic point. That seems to be the way of retail in general. And kind of my perception, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I see thrift as almost the anti-establishment to traditional retail.

[00:13:23] What is, as we’re seeing, essentially a compact of a lot of retailers. People are being acquired, people going out of business. The ones that are staying in business and are being successful are the ones that provide an experience, because I think that’s what’s missing in the economy now is I could go online and go to Amazon and find almost anything I wanted, but if I want an experience, yeah, I’m gonna go down to, you know, the local thrift shop or the Goodwill or something like that, because the socialization and the interaction is what people are missing. 

[00:13:51] Craig: Well, and that, that leads us right into the myths of thrift. You know, traditionally people thought of thrift as folks on a tight budget. You know, the customers are gonna be those that are, you know, homeschooling their kids or they’ve got one income or they’re kind of struggling and so they’re in there because they need to buy a shirt for $3, you know, and our average garment in the industry is three, four bucks. It’s not, we’re not selling a hundred dollars garments, but that is actually not our typical customer.

[00:14:15] Our typical customer tends to be a little bit more towards middle age and upper middle income. We have people of every background that shop with us, but we cater to every group in the culture as far as our customers and the people who spend the most, you know, they’ll drop 50 or a hundred dollars and it’s nothing for them to do a shopping spree like that for their kids and grandkids. They actually tend to be in a much higher income bracket than what was traditionally thought as thrift customers.

[00:15:35] One of the things, and then some of the conversations I’ve been having with retailers is there’s a little bit of a hesitation in the whole thrifting and up-thrifting, I guess, movement. And I don’t know if you guys have experienced that where, you know, people of a little more, you know, affluent means go into thrift stores, you know, and buy things and then resell them at a higher price. To me that, you know, stands kind of in contradiction to what the thrift model is about. Is that something you guys are experiencing and how are you guys addressing that, if so?

[00:16:03] Craig: You have to ask yourself when you are a non-profit, starting a thrift store or for-profit, but especially the non-profits, why do I have a social enterprise? Why do I have a thrift store? If your goal is to offer things directly to people in need as low cost as possible, and that’s really the traditional Salvation Army model, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s an absolutely valid point and principle and vision to start a thrift store. 

[00:16:28] For most of us, however, we’re running the store to fund other facilities for the homeless or for a feeding shelter or for some community outreach program. Without profit, there is no permission to do the primary ministry, and so we need all forms of customers. We have a rotation system where those people that want to resell it, they’re coming in on half off day or 80% day, or they’re going to our building material store where we have a section of clothing that is shelf poles that has run through our entire six week rotation, and now it’s paid by the pound, a dollar to a dollar 50 a pound, the more you buy, the cheaper it is. And our eBays are literally running across that commercial complex from the moment we open the doors on Monday to where the product is on display to fill up shopping carts of products that we would send to recycling. And instead they’re buying it and sorting it and putting it on eBay and making profit.

[00:17:27] The antique stores that come in and purchase things on clearance day of the product that’s been on the floor. It had its day at full price. We want to see people buy about 80% of what we put out there at full price. If we’re trying to charge too much, then you hear this in thrift stores all the time, “that thrift store’s really high price.” Well, maybe they are. Maybe they’re not listening to their customers. We use ThriftCart and the barcodes and the reports that we built with you to look at when things sell. And if it’s selling too quickly because they’re buying it to resell at a great profit, we’re gonna slowly increase the price exactly to two or three or $4 in clothing or in books or in the household goods. We can see by their habits where it’s moving too quickly and we wanna see the average customer say, you know what, a 2.99, 3.99 average item, that’s a good deal. I need it. I want it. I’m gonna pick it up. If they don’t, if they pass by it, and we tried too hard, I’m happy that the reseller of some type buys it on discount, which is how it usually works.

[00:18:30] Kyle: That’s a fantastic point. Would you say that there is, and I’m assuming within ThriftCart, you’re able to track, you know, the shelf life, so to speak, of an item from the production stage to the point where it gets on the floor? You know, and I’m sure it varies by category, but how long is the average item sitting on your shelves before it goes to, in the chance that it doesn’t sell, goes to absolute clearance?

[00:18:50] Craig: Sure. We rotate clothing the fastest. Mm-hmm. We call that out separate from the rest of our product. And we have six weeks of a rotation. We want to see about 80% of everything we put out there sell within the first three weeks. That’s our goal. We consider our prices to be in our target zone, if that’s the case. If they’re selling too quickly, we can up the price in that, you know, whatever price point in that department. If they’re selling too slowly, then over time we’d look to bring it down and so we wanna see about 80% sell within three weeks in clothing. 

[00:19:23] Everything else, it’s a little bit slower. We do a nine week rotation, so we wanna see it sell within the first six weeks, about 80% of the time and then sell in week seven, eight or nine, the rest of the, you know, approximately 20% of the product that goes out. And so that’s what we look at for appropriate sell through rates. Everyone has to kind of gauge that with their donation stream and their market and how many turns they’re looking for. But for us, that’s what we use. 

[00:19:52] Kyle: Is there an optimal inventory turn ratio that you guys are shooting for in your business? 

[00:19:58] Craig: We work more on optimizing that 80% and it’s worked very successfully for us. Seven years ago we got very serious about these metrics, even before ThriftCart. We could do some limited function with this with our old POS system and we looked at our average household good item. It was selling for less than $2, which we knew by industry standards was too low. It needed to be closer to three, and so to just tell the person in that department who had been there 10 years, “up all your prices,” her response was, “I’m gonna offend all my customers. We can’t just move the lever or we’ll lose people.” And so through very specifically looking at each individual price point month after month, we’ll be able to turn those levers within less than six months, very successfully, and get her average up to almost the $3 that we were looking for. 

[00:20:47] Since then we’ve seen over a million dollars of more revenue from that one store just in household goods because we’ve moved that average piece up. You know, she’s doing 15, 18,000 items sold per month. That’s another buck per item every month for years and years. And so, that’s where it just comes down to really listening to your customers. They’re voting with their wallet every moment they check out. And by using the data that ThriftCart is capturing, we can adjust our prices very specifically and we have four different stores in four different parts of the market, and individually, each of those stores have set points where that sell through ratio is appropriate.

[00:21:26] In our little tiny town of a few thousand people, in a rural area, we’re gonna have a different price point for some of the clothing than we would in a, a metro of 80,000 people. And so, It’s very easily tailorable if you look at those things through the point of sale system. 

[00:21:43] Kyle: That’s a perfect point there. I mean, with your guys’ ability and the things that ThriftCart can do, as opposed to a big box retailer, you can customize your mix, your rotation schedule, your pricing to your core demographic and to your, you know, your business profile of your customer. 

[00:21:58] That said, I mean, it sounds like, you know, Hope Gospel Mission, you guys, you understand the big picture of what you guys are trying to do with your metrics and things like that. So from your perspective, for the thrift industry and you know, some of our listeners that are, interested in starting a thrift store or just getting into this, what would be, a, a one piece of advice, you know, that you would pass along, as to, you know, help them, be successful in their endeavor?

[00:22:20] Craig: I would say run it like a business. You know, we go, every time I travel, I’m addicted to thrift. I was before, and I still am. I probably always will be. Every time I’m in a new city, I’m going to the thrift stores. I’m looking at the industry. What I see out there is a lot of nonprofits running the thrift store like a hobby, like a bake sale in the church basement. You know, this is a business and if we run it like a business and we implement metrics and systems and processes and safety protocol, and we have a professional point of sale system it can be very profitable. That’s my greatest piece of advice.

[00:22:58] You know, learn from industry experts, seek out advice and, you know, market. Spend dollars on marketing. Even something as simple as that, which is, taken for granted in almost every industry that you have to spend a few dollars on marketing. When you talk to a lot of thrift stores, it’s a shock to their nonprofit to even think about spending money on marketing. So, you know, run the store like a professional business is my biggest piece of advice. 

[00:23:21] And don’t forget about the people. Your customers are telling you how to do that. Your employees have a lot of knowledge. It’s really all about their relationships. And when you have the processes and the rest of it mixed with the right people, this can be the greatest business in the world.

[00:23:36] Kyle: Great business and going to a great cause. Right? No that’s some very sage advice. I just, in my experience, yeah. A lot of times it’s, for a nonprofit it’s, not run like a business and I think that might be one of the stigmas within thrift is, you know, it’s, different from traditional retail, so we can operate in an untraditional manner. But you know, to your point, if you want to be successful and you want to make, you know, the most amount of profit for your organization or your cause, yeah, you have to run things with a purpose and run it like a business. 

[00:24:06] So you brought up something I wanted to touch on briefly. Um, marketing. What’s, kind of, your guys’ approach to marketing and what have you found successful over the years?

[00:24:14] Craig: You know, we’ve done it all. We’ve done TV, we’ve done radio, we’ve done social media. We’ve focused most right now on in-store relationships, in-store points, touchpoints with our customers, with our frequent shopper programs. But we do social media. We have a very significant social media presence. If something amazing comes in, we’re putting that out there. We put uh, two coffee shops, you know, in a couple of our stores, we have coffee shops and we’re giving away the space to that retailer just to create an atmosphere, to create a customer experience. We’re not gonna make anything off the coffee directly. But local businesses are partnering to say, “coffee’s on us this week. We love what Hope Gospel’s doing. We love this new coffee business. Say our business name, and everybody gets free coffee this week.” And it just, it creates a kind of a snowball effect of excitement that generates a lot of, really for us, free marketing.

[00:25:08] And so there’s a lot of leverage partnerships like that, that we can do. We have a half off sale. It’s an insane day. We did $32,000 and a normal day for us is say 15,000 or something at our stores. Wow. And that was all half off. So really we did 64,000 in sales, which is a lot of $3 garments. It’s a crazy day at our stores. And we just advertise it for a few days, spend say $3,000 on radio and the biggest stations in town, the big secular stations, and say customer appreciation, half off everything at our stores. And it’s a zoo. People line up. We can have 50 to a hundred customers deep in the checkout line. It’s absolutely crazy. And all we’re doing is dropping a little bit on, marketing with the radio spots, and then moving everything to half off instead of just the older product for one day a year. And it is, it’s a zoo, it’s a madhouse, and it’s such an easy marketing event that really doesn’t cost us hardly anything. But it works very well and it’s an acquisition. People bring their friends for the first time and it just creates kind of a crazy environment for success. 

[00:26:13] Kyle: Well, and it kind of goes back to your early point, I mean, with the coffee shop and what I’m hearing is for a marginal amount of money spend and marketing, creating the experience again, you know, you have people bringing their friends. You have a coffee shop there. I mean, I can only imagine, you know, someone coming in, grabbing a coffee, you’re gonna want to hang out in the store a lot longer cuz you gotta finish your coffee. So you’re gonna walk around and if it’s half off, it just seems like the perfect environment, you know, to increase your sales and increase the opportunity there for sales.

[00:26:40] Craig: Absolutely. We’ve had church benches in the front of the store that say “bored husband’s parking,” where, you know, the wife puts her husband and says, all right, honey read your book, play your game on your phone. I’m going shopping, you know, and literally she’ll be shopping for an hour or two and he’s sitting there talking to everybody, cuz that’s all he wants to do.

[00:26:56] Kyle: See, you’re on the cutting edge there. Like, Target should do something like that. Like, that’s what I have to do when my wife goes to Target. I’m like, all right, honey, like I’m just gonna sit over here and wait for you. So you guys are way ahead of the game on that one. 

[00:27:07] Well, Craig, honestly this has been fantastic. I think I just have a couple things just wanna wrap up. So let’s look forward a couple years. I know we’re in a kind of a tumultuous economic situation, but looking forward, let’s say the next five years, where do you see thrift, where do you see it need to evolve to, or what things do thrift stores, you know, need to start to adapt and, you know, include in their business model for them to be successful going forward? 

[00:27:30] Craig: Well, the biggest thrift threat I believe is fast fashion. There is so much garbage product being put out into the market by low end companies that, you wash it three times or 10 times in its trash. Luckily Americans have a lot of product in their basement and grandma’s basement left for us but that’s gonna change things, that currently 80% that’s not making it to the floor. I see that going up to 90% in 10 years, and it’s gonna get tougher for us to find quality product to put out there that’s worth re-wearing again. And so that’s, a threat that if we don’t have really good systems and efficiencies in place, it’s gonna shock a lot of thrift stores over the next decade, the quality that’s plummeting in the consumer clothing, especially that’s out there. So we need to be ready for that. That’s a trend that’s a bit concerning. 

[00:28:21] I think consumers are gonna still be starving for the relationship and the experience that we offer that’s completely different from the traditional retail experience. I think the future’s bright. I think there’s just incredible opportunity for thrift in the United States and Canada, as well. 

[00:28:37] Kyle: All right. Well, Craig, that was everything I had for you. I appreciate your time, I appreciate your comments and imparting some of your wisdom on that. Yeah, thank you for taking the time and I appreciate and want everybody here listening to understand, you know, what a good system Craig is overseeing up there at Hope Gospel Mission and what a great cause it’s going to. So, thank you once again, Craig, for your time. Thank you for being my initial guest on Thrifty Business Podcast. 

[00:28:59] Craig: Thank you very much, Kyle. I do think your distinguishing difference is the level of customer service that you offer that’s not normal in your industry. That’s really what separated ThriftCart over the other vendors we looked at a couple years ago cause we were gonna make a change and we had a number of estimates, bids from other companies, your competitors. And right from the beginning until this day, what really separates you is the fact that you take the time to learn our business and to respond to our needs. So that’s something I think people need to realize that you’re really a different company to work with.

[00:29:33] Kyle: Well, thank you. And that’s what we were established on, right. You know, the original founders, and that was their core competency, as they wanted to make sure that, you know, no stone was left unturned, so to speak, and all the details and the personalization as you guys do in your store. We wanna make sure that we do that for you guys with our software and it meets your needs. 

[00:29:49] Craig: Thank you. 

[00:29:49] Kyle: Yeah, we appreciate that. Thank you.