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One Man’s Trash

Even during down economy, used merchandise sells well

August 17, 2008
By RICHARD NILSEN, The Leader-Herald

Whether it's a pricey antique or heavily discounted used clothing item, previously owned merchandise is selling well for local businesses.

Deb Sauber's Panache clothing store in Gloversville features brand name consignment apparel. She said she has seen an upward trend in sales at her store.

"Usually the summer is a dead time for business," she said. "We started out busy at the beginning of this summer, and we stayed busy."

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Richard Nilsen

Frances Bouillon from the Catskill area checks out items for sale at Debby’s Antiques in Gloversville Tuesday.

Terry Brundige of Terry's Antiques in Gloversville said he is seeing a rise in used sale items everywhere.

"You see it in the increased listing of garage sales in the newspaper," Brundige said. "I know we are doing more business than ever. And we've been in business 32 years."

Brundige said he and his wife, Carolyn, had been located in Little Falls but were told by Debby Shover of Debby's Antiques in Gloversville that a move would be a good thing.

"The kind of business we're seeing today is something new," he said. "Those who can afford it are buying antiques or used period items."

Brundige said often antique and used furniture is better made than new items, and they come at a fraction of the price. He said people seemed to be buying items that would be usable, even if they were antique or collectible.

"Functional items seem to sell the best," he said.

He noted dressers and kitchen dining sets were selling especially well. He said he even sold items when the store was technically closed.

"We were closed on Monday, but when we turned the lights on to bring some things in, the 'open' light went on," he said. "A guy came in, looked around and wound up buying $1,300 worth of things and putting money down on other items to pick up later."

Brundige said with 32 years of experience, it helped to know how to work with the public.

"We add some perks like local free delivery," he said.

He said they had been in Little Falls for 10 years where art deco items sold better, but overall sales have been better in Gloversville.

"Who knew it would be better in Gloversville," he said.

Brundige said business is doing so well he expects to occupy the former Four-Corners Deli site in January.

"We need the floor space," he said. "Business here has pleasantly surprised us."

Down the street at Debby's Antiques, Shover said she carried a different line of items and was comfortable with the Brundiges nearby as a complementary store.

"We have a different clientele and a different inventory," Shover said.

She said although the economy was in a tailspin with fuel prices keeping people nearer home, her business was doing well.

"Even in a down economy, used and vintage items sell well," she said.

Even though it was a Tuesday, not a day noted for high volume, the traffic in her shop precluded Shover from further comments. One customer from south of Albany, Frances Bouillon, said she enjoyed looking through the unusual items at the store.

Nearby at the Salvation Army Store, Assistant Manager Barbara Biscup said she was seeing more people come in to shop on days when there were no special sales.

"We're seeing more everyday sales purchases," she said.

The Thrift Shop on North Main Street in Gloversville has been run at various locations by Viola Bucci for 38 years. Bucci said the store has been especially busy this summer. The shop is an outreach of St. Mary of Mount Carmel Church.

"People don't have money for clothing," Bucci said. "I see people go out of here with bags of clothing. We have volunteers who work here as opposed to paid help, and [the store] can offer items at greatly reduced prices."

Bucci said more people should come in and take advantage of the store.

"Come in and get what you need," she said. "We have all kinds of things - clothing, furniture, small appliances, books and toys."

At the Caroga Lake Emporium, owner Diane Perrella said her store was much busier than the same time last year.

"Business is good," she said. "I have my own things for sale here as well as consignment items."

Perrella said seasonal residents shopped at the Caroga Lake Emporium, but she also had people coming from farther away to shop as the word got out.

"I have a group of people who show their things here," she said. "Items from the former Parson's Wife are here now. I shop at other dealers like Terry's as well."

Perrella said that people were shopping to decorate their homes, even in down economic times.

"Antiques are officially items more than 100 years old," she said. "Vintage items are from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s."

Perrella said dressers and tables were selling well for local camps.

"July was great," she said. "August started out well until the rains came and the lights went out."

Perrella said she felt very fortunate she was doing so well in her second year of business.

"People are willing to drive here," she said. "They come from all over - Little Falls, Herkimer, Galway, and of course Johnstown, Gloversville and the lakes."

Perrella said people should know there are many specialty and unique shops in the area.

"You don't have to go far to shop," she said.

Richard Nilsen is a general assignment reporter and can be reached at



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