Thrift shoppers feeling pinched, say Value Village raising prices
PEMBROKE, ONT. -- As the cost of everyday expenses like gas and groceries continues to rise, shoppers seeking financial relief at Value Village stores say price hikes are catching up to thrifted items as well.
Shopper Ann Turcotte says she shops most weeks on the senior discount day at the Value Village in Pembroke, Ont.
"I just got a few little baskets, a couple of books, a top, and a pair of tights and it was $37," says Turcotte, who feels prices at Value Village have been on the rise for some time.
"In here they'll have tights at $16.99, but you can get the same tights at Giant Tiger for $5.99. The prices have gone up, remarkably. They've really escalated."
It's a sentiment many shoppers share. Kim Feltham says she's been shopping at the Pembroke Value Village for 20 years, buying clothing for herself and her grandchildren.
She says many name brands available in store are overpriced for being second-hand items.
"Something as simple as a coffee maker, and some of them are $19.99 in there," says Feltham. "I remember when I was in my 20s, $19.99 was a lot of money."
In a statement to CTV News, Value Village says they take customer feedback and satisfaction “very seriously.”
“We welcome our customers to speak with a store manager if they feel an item has been mispriced."
On their website, Value Village says they are a for-profit second-hand retailer that does not support any non-profit organizations. Instead, they buy donated goods from local non-profits and accept donations in an effort to keep items out of landfills.
"It's a thrift store, things are donated. Why are the prices so high?" Turcotte said. "There are a lot of needy people that shop here."
At competing thrift stores in Pembroke, operators say priorities different from Value Village and other second-hand retailers.
"I've been here 10 years and I've probably raised the prices of clothing maybe a dollar or two," says Janice Epp, manager of BFM Thrift Store Pembroke.
"We're a not-for-profit, whereas they are for-profit," Epp says. "We are driven by volunteer staff, who are fabulous and we're so blessed that way, and they are driven by paid employees."
At Got You In Mind thrift store in Pembroke, owner Blanche Ducey says she has prices that float lower than the sticker tag in instances when people cannot afford an item.
"I usually put around $5 on my pants," says Ducey. "We try not to raise it because we want to make sure that the stuff goes back out to the people."
But despite rising costs, Feltham says she will continue to shop at Value Village in Pembroke.
"There's not much variety in a small town, so we get more of a variety in here than we do anywhere else."