When you think about products that are green or eco-friendly, you often think they come with extra-big price tags. In fact, you don’t have to spend more to go green when you buy second-hand.
The Akron area has hundreds of thrift, consignment and salvage shops. Some like Goodwill, Village Discount and the Salvation Army are like resale department stores, offering everything from donated furniture to appliances to clothing. They save customers money, keep some great merchandise from going the route of the landfill, and help fund a number of worthy local charities.
Salvage stores, like Rex Salvage in southeast Akron, sell merchandise that has been refused, lost in transit or damaged in shipping. Some items are damaged, but many are brand new and in good condition because stores can refuse shipments when even one item on a truck has been damaged.
Salvage store offer everything from cosmetics, purses and clothing to furniture and even commercial items. Merchandise is priced at 50 percent off retail when it arrives at Rex Salvage. Prices are cut every few days on items that don’t sell quickly—eventually everything goes.
Consignment shops throughout the area typically split the profits from their sales with the original owners. Abbey Ann’s, with three locations in Tallmadge and Cuyahoga Falls, sells furniture, knick knacks and house wares on consignment. They split the profits 50-50 with consignees. After 60 days, merchandise that is not picked up by the original owner is donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Another example is Pieces Fine Furniture Consignment, which has locations in Cuyahoga Falls and West Akron, and carries gently used furniture and home décor, as well as a selection of new furniture.
The Habitat for Humanity ReStore, with locations in Akron and Canton, is a great place for contractors, landlords and do-it-yourselfers to shop. They sell new and gently used building materials and home furnishings—donated by individuals, contractors and retailers—at deeply discounted prices.
Antique stores, once thought to be a haven for collectors only, are becoming more popular among the environmentally conscious. They offer fine, well-crafted furnishings that are often heirloom quality—so they can be passed down through families for generations. Pieces are often one-of-a-kind investments whose values that will appreciate over time. Reclaiming and reusing them serves multiple good purposes.
Even “pre-owned” clothing gets new life at the dozens of specialty consignment shops in the area. From Canton’s Encore Resale Fashions (which offers bridal wear, a liberal layaway program and alterations) to Gerri’s Closet in Green (for maternity wear) to Fairlawn’s Second to None (for baby and kid’s clothes) or Glitzy Finds (for high end women’s fashion and accessories) to Plato’s Closet (with current fashions for the teen and young adult markets), going green and saving green are not mutually exclusive.
Beyond buying second-hand, why not consider selling used merchandise on consignment or donating it for resale instead of throwing it out? Your castaways can be a real find to a new owner, and you’ll have a positive impact on the environment as well.—JD