Concern for saving money has fueled local stores that specialize in used clothing, owners of the stores say.
The number of used-clothing stores in Lawrence has increased by two during the past year as more entrepreneurs are seizing local residents' desire for affordable clothing.
Sue Kapfer, owner of Second Chance for Children's Clothing, 11 W. Ninth, said her store, which sells children's clothing and equipment, experienced an 18 percent increase in gross sales the first quarter of this year.
Kapfer is a veteran in the used-clothing business, having opened her store about 11 years ago. At the time, Kapfer said the town also had a few used-clothing stores catering to an adult audience, but she said they didn't last. So for quite a while, Second Chance and Animal Crackers, which opened about the same time and also specializes in children's apparel and equipment, were the only resale clothing stores in Lawrence, Kapfer said.
CAROLE BOULTON, owner of Animal Crackers, Ninth and Illinois, said the resale business has been good to her.
"I've always had extremely good luck," Boulton said.
Boulton's son is opening an Animal Crackers in Topeka, she noted.
At Second Chance and Animal Crackers, people may sell children's clothing and equipment outright. Those stores, and Arizona Trading Co., 734 Mass., differ from Lawrence's other stores that buy and sell used clothes, Lasting Impressions and Twice Is Nice, in that people are paid immediately for items.
At Lasting Impressions, 711 W. 23rd, and Twice Is Nice, 743 Mass., people may sell items on consignment, which means they receive a percentage of the selling price if and when the items are sold. At the other stores, people who sell clothing are paid a percentage outright based on the selling price.
TWICE IS NICE and Arizona Trading Co. are the two new faces on the local used clothing scene.
Twice Is Nice opened Jan. 2. Janet Wise, manager, said the owners of the store saw "a real need" for such a business.
She said the owners visited used-clothing stores in the Kansas City area and saw that "people were really catching on to this."
Jennifer McKnight, owner and manager of Arizona Trading Co., which buys clothes outright and allows customers to trade clothes, agrees.
McKnight said business has surpassed her goals.
"It's just done better than we ever would have expected," McKnight said.
McKnight, who worked in a similar store in Arizona, said she thought one reason used-clothing stores were successful is that they receive new items every day.
CAROL BROMAN, owner of Lasting Impressions, said she encouraged her customers to check back frequently because the store's inventory changes all the time.
"Our best customers are people who really enjoy shopping and getting a bargain," she said.
All of the women said their customers ranged from low-income to people who fit into the wealthy bracket.
"I'd say we get the range," Boulton said. "We get wealthy people and very hard-up people."