Calgary thrift store limiting purchases to prevent resellers clearing out stock

Mar 11 2022, 6:00 pm

A Calgary thrift store owner is limiting purchases for a select group of customers in an attempt to stop them from clearing the store out of all its best items.

Thrifting has gained popularity over the past few years and some entrepreneurial bargain hunters have set up online shops where they can resell the treasures they find. Additionally, there are a number of physical stores selling (and reselling) vintage items in Calgary.

Sue Ghebari, the owner of 17th Ave Thrift, asks that resellers and consignment shop and boutique owners limit purchases in her shop to two.


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A post shared by 17th Ave Thrift (@17thavethrift)

The store, located at 2631 17th Avenue SW in Calgary, carries affordable, quality items and donates its profits to animal shelters/rescues. The store is also pet friendly and shoppers are welcome to bring their most fashionable four-legged, feathered, or scaly friends in with them.

“We are a small team that works so very hard year-round to provide carefully curated name brand, trendy [and] vintage pieces, at affordable prices,” writes Ghebari in an Instagram post. “We strongly believe that everyone should have access to that, especially those without the financial means to shop at the mall for brands.”

The thrift store owner says that she is in support of everyone doing what they need to do to get by in today’s complex world; however, the issue her store is facing is resellers and boutique owners coming in and completely clearing 17th Ave Thrift out of all its best pieces.

“Some argue that we should be happy to make a sale regardless of who is buying,” writes Ghebari. “This practice actually hurts us because we lose regular customers in the process.”

Ghebari says in the Instagram post that, instead of raising the shop’s prices like some of the big thrift stories have done, she’ll be limiting purchases instead. “Yes, I know this is an unorthodox business practice,” she adds.


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A post shared by 17th Ave Thrift (@17thavethrift)

The owner explains that she came to this decision after being confronted, berated, and belittled by trendy consignment boutique owners and “certain resellers” as she tries to explain that they are not leaving anything for her regular customers when they buy out all the great pieces for their own shops.

“I don’t expect everyone to agree with this,” adds Ghebari. “I’m doing what’s best for my business and ultimately for the many rescue animals that we help every month.”

She concludes the announcement by saying, “I hope you understand.”

Big-name thrift stores are currently facing issues as well, with places such as Value Village raising prices to a point where customers have begun to take notice.

A TikTok user who just moved to Vancouver posted a video saying that Value Village needs to be called out and that the store is “getting out of control.”

“It’s like they forget that the dollar store exists and that a lot of these things come from the dollar store,” they added.

A Reddit post featuring a picture reportedly taken in an Edmonton Value Village of used mason jars priced up to $15 each has created a stir online, with many questioning the affordability of used items at that price.

There’s even a petition on calling out the thrift store for its controversial pricing practices, which already has hundreds of signatures supporting the claim that “Value Village has gotten way out of hand with their pricing.”

With files from Laine Mitchell

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