The Lansing area is home to restaurants and shops of all different kinds; mom and pops, chain businesses and everything in-between. But some of the younger residents in the area seem to be struggling to find reliable stores to buy clothes from. More and more people are beginning to gravitate away from name brand shops like American Eagle and Express and head over to the local thrift stores. “I get so much more from thrift stores than regular stores,” Lansing resident Esther Okunrounmu said. “It’s just cheaper and you can get some really cool stuff.”
It should come to no surprise that thrift stores and retail shops are the places to be when looking for a deal when sometimes such places are selling clothes from big names like Calvin Klein for less than $10, which was found at the Meridian Township Salvation Army store on Oct.
Subzero temperatures this winter have made it tough for secondhand stores and homeless shelters in Lansing, not because of a greater demand for their services but because volunteers hesitated to venture out to donate their belongings or their time. Donations lacking
Debra Kelly, the assistant manager at Hidden Treasures Thrift Store, said that the store’s goal is to “be real and resourceful and meet all the needs” regardless of the season. “Whether it’s the winter or summer, there are so many in need,” she said. “The demand is much greater than the supply.”
Kelly said that the cold winter significantly limited donations compared to what the store normally receives at this point in the year. “The cold has kept people kind of in a slumber,” she said. “The ice storms, the winter, the cold weather – it’s the same for most of the surrounding retail in the community.”
This is certainly true for Upscale Thrift, a secondhand store operated through the City Rescue Mission, according to employee Hannah Hall. “I think that the cold weather and the amount of snow on the roads definitely affected business,” Hall said.
Michigan’s small businesses rely on recent changes in legislative measures and consumer trends to survive. The state government’s new focus on growing businesses from within is key to the success of local businesses in Michigan. Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) President and CEO Rob Fowler said that the state government administration’s move toward economic gardening or, growing businesses within Michigan instead of looking for business elsewhere, is key to job creation in Michigan. “People tend to think that job creation only happens when there’s a big company in town,” he said. After SBAM promoted economic gardening to Gov. Rick Snyder, it was included in his state of the state address in January as part of his plan to improve Michigan.