Stores Corner

Stores Corner — Recession Benefits and The Need for Long-Term Planning

Stores Corner — Recession Benefits and The Need for Long-Term Planning 1080 1080 SVDP USA

During a recession, the thrift industry seems to thrive. Although shoppers tend to cut back on spending for non-essential purchases, sales for thrift shops like ours tend to boom. This is a great opportunity for our stores.

The Offer Up Recommerce Report 2022 suggests that the secondhand shopping economy will grow 80% in the next 5 years. Will our stores be ready for this potential growth?

Since consumers tend to hang on to their possessions much longer during a recession, this could pose a dilemma for some thrift stores. If fewer donations are received, yet the demand for our merchandise is growing, how might we plan for this? We need to be creative and use some forward thinking to get ahead of this.

As we know, our donation locations must be convenient for our donors. We might explore targeting specific donation drives where we bring donation receptacles to our donors, i.e. organize community events such as “Fill the Truck” at churches, targeted neighborhoods, or civic organizations.

We can increase social media efforts to target specific age groups, donation sites or specific merchandise needs. Promote special donation locations in church bulletins, on social media, Homeowner Association newsletters, and the like.

We might consider offering a store coupon to donors as an incentive for them to come in and shop at our store. If they don’t use the coupon, perhaps the donor might share the coupon with another prospective customer.

If you don’t already do so, maybe explore purchasing new product and selling the purchased merchandise at a markup. This might bridge the gap, as needed, to fill the stores when donations are low and provide cost-effective merchandise for our customers.

The SVdP National Stores website has a listing of National Partners that could be a resource in this area. For a list of National Partners, visit: and select SVdP National Partners under the Resources tab. These vendors have shoes, clothing, bedding, and much more.

As always, if you have questions or would like to reach out to a National Store Committee Member, their names and region can be found here.

If you have a topic that you would like addressed in a future Stores Corner article, please e-mail our Jeff Beamguard, Director of Stores Support at

SVdP Stores Corner — Expand Your Reach Using Your Fleet

SVdP Stores Corner — Expand Your Reach Using Your Fleet 1080 1080 SVDP USA

Written by: Brooke Trick — Senior Director of Retail Operations
District Council of Madison

Businesses are always looking for effective and unique ways to inform large audiences of their brand and services. What better way to expand your reach then with a rolling billboard? Truck advertising (wraps or vinyl decals) is one of the most successful and cost-effective methods of advertising when compared to other typical marketing; it’s endless exposure for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. Truck ads boost brand recognition two times higher than mobile ads and have a higher recall rate than other roadside signs.

Truck advertising offers flexibility unmatched with stationary billboards. Trucks drive diverse pick-up routes often during heavy commute times and frequent popular areas in town. On trucks, whether owned or leased, your brand and the exact message(s) you want to tell are visible to everyone without having to buy the audience. Customers and donors will remember your brand when shopping and will be familiar with your mission after they see your ad in a variety of locations.

Truck advertising is different than traditional advertising because it isn’t restricted by placement, timing and rates. While people can switch off television commercials or use ad blockers online it’s difficult to ignore a colorful and creative ad while driving down the road or stuck in traffic. Most importantly, truck advertising is not invasive or repetitive.

When considering truck advertising, remember these key factors:

  • Be creative! Creative displays attract attention; consider font, color scheme and layout when designing your ad. If you have a fleet, contemplate keeping the format the same but use different pictures to identify shopping and services.
  • Words. As much as you want to inform the public of all the wonderful things you do, use short sentences or phrases that can be read in a few seconds. Experts say catchy or memorable phrases are often the most effective. Some of ours include “Shop with your heart,” or “help your budget, help your planet,
    help your neighbor in need.”
  • If you’re thinking of changing or adding these types of ads to your fleet, consider hiring a local advertising company. They will know current design trends and will incorporate your brand guide into a memorable design. If you have your own design team, they can work together as well.

For more information and resources regarding branding, templates, and logos, click here.

SVdP Stores Corner

SVdP Stores Corner 1200 628 SVDP USA

The Stores Corner was added to the e-Gazette in 2022 to be a helpful resource on various topics for all SVdP Thrift Stores staff and volunteers.

This edition of the Stores Corner is to explain the purpose of the National Stores Committee and to list the volunteer committee members by region.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Thrift Store Committee is dedicated to helping our Thrift Store personnel (both paid and unpaid), to develop and maintain successful Thrift Stores to support the Society’s mission most effectively.

The Thrift Stores Committee members are a group of individuals who generously volunteer their time to be of service to other SVdP store personnel throughout the country.

Most of the Thrift Stores Committee members are women and men who work full-time in jobs helping to run successful stores in their own region.

Stores committee members represent single store locations and multi-store locations.

Committee members are here to serve you.

You might have questions about Point of Sale (POS) systems, how to increase donations, cash handling processes, volunteer/staff recruitment, on-line sales, social media, human resource topics, etc.

Please reach out to a committee member if you have questions. If they don’t have an answer for you, they will reach out to another resource to get the answer for you.

If you have a topic you’d like to see in a future Stores Corner article, please email your request to National Stores Director, Jeff Beamguard at

Thank you!

Committee members are listed below by region:

Diocesan Council of Phoenix: Mike McClanahan

Contra Costa County of California: Dominick Scibilia

North Central
District Council of Madison: Brooke Trick

Cabrini Conference, Wausau, WI: Kim Kuske

Council of St. Louis: John Walters

South Central
Archdiocesan Council of Galveston-Houston: Marie Schwartz

Stores Director Austin: Rick Bologna

Diocese of Palm Beach: Don Schiffgens

Council of Lansing: John Thelen

Council of Greensburg: Ed Markiewicz

Council of Rockville Centre: Joe Lazarich

Archdiocese of Boston: Lori Malcom


Stores Corner — Centralized Processing

Stores Corner — Centralized Processing 1200 628 SVDP USA

Do you know about the SVdP Stores webpage through the National website with tons of great information regarding all things stores!?

The National Stores Committee is a group SVdP store folks that represent each SVdP Region and are committed to best practices in support of SVdP Thrift Stores for success across the nation. Find great topical articles from the Region Reps here in the Stores Corner of the E-Gazette on the last Thursday of each month.

Centralized Processing
By: Lori Malcolm — The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Archdiocese of Boston

Clothing sales are one of the largest revenue streams for our thrift stores. A centralized processing system can be an efficient and cost effective alternative for demographics that may not be able to support the volume and quality necessary for a successful retail operation.

The supply of product and its continued rotation is the corner stone to increased sales.  Donations of textiles at the retail site is one method of product supply.  However, it may be limited in volume and quality by the retail store’s demographic. Consequently, supplemental means of supply are often times required.  These include clothing drives, corporate donations, or a collection bin system. Each should be reviewed locally for feasibility purposes.

The sorting process is the most important element of a centralized processing system. Determining the necessary labor and standards expected are most important in establishing a training regimen for staff. The site location, building, physical set up of workstations, and the material handling equipment required for efficient production also need to be carefully considered. In addition, an exit strategy for all store returns and donations which do not meet standards must be established.

Lastly, product distribution and its logistical requirements must be addressed. Standard retail store order quantities and delivery frequency must be determined based on the size of the retail store and its rotation cycle.  Delivery logistics, including transportation labor, trucks, and hours of operation must be determined and accounted for fiscally. Careful consideration must also be made for trash, both fiscally and logistically. Finally, an effective hangar management system (storage) with its associated material handling equipment requirements should be carefully considered in order to assure the most efficient and cost effective operation.

Please contact your local National Store’s Committee representative for examples of successful centralized processing retail operations. More detailed information and tours can be arranged.

Connect with a Region Rep to learn more about what they are doing in your area – list of committee members can be found under the Resources drop down at by clicking here.

Stores Corner: Getting Store Donations – It’s All About Convenience

Stores Corner: Getting Store Donations – It’s All About Convenience 738 416 SVDP USA

Have You Heard?! SVdP Stores has a webpage on the National Website! The webpage offers tons of great information regarding all things stores!? 

The National Stores Committee is a group of SVdP stores folks that represent each SVdP Region and are committed to sharing best practices in support of SVdP Thrift Stores for success across the nation. Find great topical articles from the Region Reps here in the Stores Corner of the e-Gazette on the last Thursday of each month.

Getting Store Donations – It’s All About Convenience

By: Donald Schiffgens
Project manager /CFO
Saint Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, Port Saint Lucie, FL

Our Thrift Store, located in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, is relatively small with about $275,000 in annual sales. The store employs five people in key positions and has about two dozen volunteers. The store relies on customer donations brought into the store as well as free truck pick-up service. We do not currently have collection bins and so, just recently, we got permission from the pastor of one of our five parish-based Conferences to collect home goods and clothing from parishioners on two consecutive weekends following each mass.

The collection effort was very successful as donors had the opportunity to clean out their closets and bring their donations as they attended weekend masses. In this collection effort St. Vincent de Paul became more visible in our parish and many people inquired about our mission and the location of our Thrift Store. It was a win-win for all! Watch your donations grow when your store offers donor convenience and if you advertise don’t forget to advertise for donations.

Connect with a Region Rep to learn more about what is happening in your area – the list of committee members can be found under the Resources drop down here

Stores Corner: Skillful Merchandising Adds to the Bottom Line

Stores Corner: Skillful Merchandising Adds to the Bottom Line 738 416 SVDP USA

By: Ed Markiewicz
Council of Greensburg, PA

Achieving and maintaining profitability in our Thrift Stores requires implementing standard operational procedures consistently. Without a doubt having the right people, establishing effective intake processing and pricing procedures as well as a color rotation system, and utilizing the data from the Point of Sale system to analyze and implement the necessary changes are the basic requirements for a successful operation. But skillful merchandising can dramatically add to the bottom line and create a welcoming atmosphere for you customers.

How can this easily be achieved? Create a visual team with a creative spirit. Visual merchandising, unexpected pairings, thoughtful details, and repetition attract the eye. Using flexible space for events and seasonal items, a fresh look or display, and creating a rhythm to the store by placing visual elements that guide customer flow through the store are essential. Clever color placement as well as themed settings draw customer attention, and create a warm uniform effect.

Tell a story high on the walls to draw customer’s eyes to featured items. Use mannequins in a unique eye catching display not merely to display clothes. Be sure to showcase items specific to the area and use a simple signage system that often times is the most effective. It can lead to excitement and additional income opportunities, while capturing data at a granular level for deeper insights into the business.

Customers who believe in the mission of the store and enjoy shopping at the SVdP store can share the store’s presence within their own circle of influence: family, friends, and loved ones. Additional visibility for the store is always great!

Loyalty cards allow your store to capture customer data points, which can be leveraged into marketing opportunities. Ask yourself, how can we stay in contact with customers and make decisions on marketing and advertising campaigns?

From the data points captured through loyalty cards, stores can send out email blasts or text blasts, to the customer base for any special sales or promotions. Customer retention is much cheaper than customer acquisition!

Connect with a Region Rep to learn more about what is happening in your area – the list of committee members can be found under the Resources drop down at

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