Clean out your closet during quarantine? Local thrift stores are ready to take your hand-me-downs

Posted at 3:06 PM, May 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-25 20:19:31-04

CINCINNATI — For people spending more time at home, clearing out the closet or garage full of clutter can be a practical and beneficial use of that extra time.

And whether the tidying up leads to a charitable donation or more cash, second-hand shops around Cincinnati are now open and ready for buying, selling and dropping off.

Consignment shops are also implementing new safety measures to keep employees and customers safe.

St. Vincent DePaul in Milford is seeing an uptick at their donation center, and store manager Jessica Cope said the stay-at-home orders may have something to do with that.

“We’ve definitely noticed a bigger impact,” she said. “I guess the things that they have had throughout the years have made their way.”

Now that the store is reopen, the staff is wearing masks during their shifts and they have their temperatures taken before starting work. A limited number of people are allowed in the store at one time, with staff members monitoring at the front door.

Cope said donors should expect business as usual with some modifications.

“We're not asking donors to do anything different than they ever do," she said. "However, our employees are supposed to wear their masks and of course sanitize everything in their area, trying to keep their distance as they get the donations from the donors.”

Cleaning and social distancing are also priorities for the buy-and-resale shop Clothes Mentor in Hyde Park.

When the store was closed due to government orders, store manager Carmen Carmen took the time to do some remodeling.

“While I was here by myself, we repainted the whole store and kind of got everything organized so when the staff came in everything was refreshed,” she said.

Clothes Mentor also refreshed its business model by starting an online store to allow for pickups and even nationwide shipping. The initiative served two purposes.

“To help our customers find what they need when they can't get it everywhere else but also to help us as a small business trying to survive through this,” Carmen said.

Clothes Mentor has been open since May 15. The Snooty Fox, also in Hyde Park, will open June 1.

Founder and president Donna Speigel said she anticipates being busy when the reopening date arrives.

“We have received hundreds of emails saying, ‘When are you opening?'" she said. “Everyone has been cleaning out closets at home.”

But just like many other businesses, the Snooty Fox will be requiring new safety protocols for buyers and sellers.

“The clothing should be clean, pressed and on hangers so that we can easily go through it," Speigel said. “We can know that you have gone through it. We don’t want to be digging through boxes and bags of things that you have.”

All locations of the consignment store are getting disinfecting supplies and installing Plexiglas barriers. Speigel said she just doesn’t want to go backwards.

“We will be wearing masks and we are requiring our customers to do the same,” she said. “We have them at the door if you don't have one. We’ve all stayed home too long to let this fall down.”

Spiegel said she cares about her business, but she cares about her employees, too.

“We're protecting you as well as ourselves, and I have a lot of employees that I truly love, and I don't want anything to happen to them either," she said.

Because she anticipates so much business upon reopening, the Snooty Fox is hiring. Speigel said they’re looking for sales associates on the evenings and weekends.