Second-hand stores can help ease financial burden of back-to-school shopping

Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 6:37 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Back-to-school shopping is underway and second-hand stores in the Chippewa Valley can be an affordable option to help you check the boxes off your school year essentials.

From supplies to clothes, the list of back-to-school needs can seem never-ending and so can the financial strain.

“They’re expecting record high for families to have to send their kids back to school this year,” North Central Goodwills Vice President, Kris Rihn, said. “I think the recent data is somewhere around $890 per family. That’s a lot of money.”

Data from a National Retail Federation survey predicts back-to-school spending will reach $41.5 billion dollars this year. However, shopping at second-hand stores can help parents and kids get what they need at a more affordable price. Both Goodwill and Hope Gospel’s Bargain Stores are offering back-to-school goods.

“We’ve got jeans, we’ve got pants, we’ve got shorts because it starts out kind of warm in September,” Rhin said. “Lots of different tops and sweater options.”

“We have a little bit of everything, as you can probably see here,” Hope Gospel’s Public Relations Coordinator, Evening Snow, said. “We have scissors, we have backpacks, we have books, and it goes on. We have a little bit of everything that people need.”

Since both stores are second-hand, their prices are already lower than a typical retail store, but both stores also offer discounts on clothing based on the color of the tags as well.

“We have our color of the week, so certain colors will be 50 percent off every week,” Rhin said.

“They’re color coded too depending on what day you come,” Snow said. “A couple of days ago, yellow was 80 percent off.”

If you decided second-hand is the route for you this back-to-school season there are some things to keep in mind. One is to check second-hand locations frequently.

“We’re putting out thousands of new items every day in every one of our stores and so the inventory and the merchandise is ever-changing,” Rhin said.

The other is to take a closer look at how the store is organized.

“We do colorize. So, if you look particularly good in blue or red you should be able to go right to your color.”

Additionally, shopping at Goodwill and Hope Gospel Bargain Store supports people in need in the Chippewa Valley. Hope Gospel Mission is a faith-based nonprofit that helps people who are struggling with homelessness and addiction. Profits from the store go to the nonprofit.

“We provide housing, food, transportation, all the things that they need,” Snow said.

While Goodwill’s Mission focuses on employment.

“Every purchase made helps us provide job skills that lead to sustained employment and financial stability,” Rhin said.

Both stores also accept donations of school clothes and supplies during store hours.

For Goodwill donation information click here. To find a North Central Goodwill location click here.

Hope Gospel Mission had Bargain stores in Eau Claire, Mondovi, and Menomonie. For donation information click here.