EDITORIAL: Consignment shops attract a new clientele

There’s been an uptick in younger customers shopping at area consignment stores, say proprietors who speculate that both economic and environmental concerns may be driving the trend. It’s likely the pandemic has played a role, too.

The motivation for secondhand shopping was explored recently in the Record-Journal by reporter Jessica Simms.

Jackie Leathe, managing director of Connecticut Consignment Originals, with a store in Cheshire, said buying clothes second hand is now considered “trendy.”

“It’s cool, they know they are doing something great for the planet and they are doing something great for their wallet,” Leathe said. “I do feel like a lot of younger shoppers, they are very price savvy.”

Kelly Rumovicz, manager of Uptown Consignment in Southington,  said the store’s trending department, which sells clothes from current labels, is thriving. “A lot of people are working from their homes now. They have more time to go through their closets, recycle as far as bringing in the consignments and purchasing back in our store. They are just recycling instead of spending more money.” 

Cindy Ruszczyk, owner of Cindy’s Unique Shop in Wallingford, has noticed an increase in younger shoppers since just before the pandemic. “I think there’s that need and that want... whether it be that piece of furniture that is made out of wood that is going to last them... that they are going to paint and make it their own,” Ruszczyk said.

The pandemic also may have helped bring in a new wave of younger customers who have discovered the benefits of the “shop local” movement. “I think Covid helped it because the general public was afraid to go to the larger stores so they stayed more hometown, little shops,” Ruszczyk said.

Hand-me-downs, secondhand or used items have always been part of making do and stretching budgets. Sometimes the practice of passing things along was welcomed by the recipient, other times there may have been a bit of stigma.

These days it makes sense that any form of recycling is a good way to go and consignment shops have a role in that. Concerns about the environment and consumerism, plus the desire to save money and keep healthy amid the uncertainty of a pandemic, are all practical matters. Bargain hunting and snagging a pre-owned treasure for a fashion statement is a small part of the solution and definitely cool.


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