Arizona thrift shops and sustainable fashion outlets thrive during the pandemic

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Posted at 8:47 AM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 11:47:12-04

Being an environmentally friendly consumer means more than recycling paper and avoiding plastic. For those who avoid fast fashion – cheap, trendy items that often come from sweatshops – thrift and resale/trade shops have offered a smart way to shop.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic changed how such stores could operate, Goodwill locations and smaller shops have been regaining their footing in recent months. About 16% to 18% of Americans indicated they will shop at a thrift store at some point during a given year, according to an August 2020 report by the Association of Resale Professionals, the largest trade group for resellers. Economic pressure and job losses during the pandemic increased demand for secondhand goods, too.

When COVID-19 shut down much of the economy a year ago, more than 100 Goodwill stores in northern and central Arizona had to lay off workers, but spokesperson Courtney Nelson said 70% have been hired back.

“We are a nonprofit organization in addition to a thrift store, so the revenue directly from our stores goes to helping people here in the community,” Nelson said.

Goodwill says it provided no-cost career development, training and education services for 24,000 people in central Arizona in 2020.

Read more from the Phoenix Business Journal.