This is the week America celebrates National Thrift Shop Day on Thursday, Aug. 17. It’s an opportunity to practice the Three R’s — reduce, reuse and recycle — as students head back to school.
Did you know that one in six adults in this country now shops in resale stores, according to thrift store locator TheThriftShopper.com? Thrift stores generate $12 billion in revenue annually, according to the Association of Resale Professionals.
The three authors of ThriftStyle salute thrift shop owners, who make secondhand shopping a combined treasure hunt and bargain parade. Every day this week on this blog we will be profiling a thrift shop that we visited doing research for our book. We begin with Castaway’s Consignment & Resale in Murrells Inlet, SC, owned by Jode Gammon, seen below.
We appreciate re-sale clothing owners who go the extra mile for customers. Step inside Castaway’s Consignment & Resale in tiny Murrells Inlet, S.C., and you’ll find dressing gowns and body shapers in the try-on rooms, which have softer lights and full mirrors. Owner Jode Gammon has rigorously organized her racks of clothing, shoes and jewelry, making shopping fast. Sizes are marked by positive signs, such as “Petite and Perfect” and “Full-figured and Fabulous.” There are business cards for experienced nearby seamstresses at the checkout counter.
Gammon moved to the Grand Strand beach area after a career in the limo rental business in New Jersey. She is customer-focused, often giving shoppers gift sachets and $5 coupons.
She also makes shopping fun, hanging vintage chiffon gowns overhead as décor. (She does a brisk business in prom, wedding and pageant attire.) A sign over the shoe section reads, “Two words for anyone who thinks cute shoes aren’t important – Cinderella and Dorothy.”
Gammon is picky about what she accepts in her consignment shop, where she splits the proceeds 50-50 with consigners and charges a one-time clothing evaluation fee of $25. “To those whose items I reject, I’m the b..ch” of Murrells Inlet,” she says with a laugh. For customers, however, this means well-chosen clothes in excellent condition.
Since the tourist trade pulls from a wide area, there are surprising finds, such as a long black summer dress with gold dragonflies and matching jacket from Biasa, a high-end boutique in the Seminyak shopping city in Bali. (Yes, we bought it at Castaway’s for a bargain $12, saving at least $150.)
The jewelry and handbags for sale are mostly new. The resale shoes have been washed, deodorized and buffed. There’s a separate rack for Chico’s clothing, a feature we’ve seen at countless thrift stores, which are a magnet for that store’s demographic.
Castaway’s Consignment & Resale is located in a former video store, in one of the many strip malls that line Route 17 along the Myrtle Beach area. It’s near a Food Lion grocery store, which is how locals identify the various off-the-highway shopping centers. Thrifters know to be alert to stores in vacation spots as they attract affluent retirees and others who are downsizing or shedding fancier clothes from northern climes.
“Our motto is, ‘Turn the treasures in your closet into cash in your purse,’” Gammon said of her six-year enterprise. “I love fashion and I love women. It’s a thrill to see them dressing well for less money.”
Castaway’s Consignment & ReSale, 758 Mink Ave., Murrells Inlet, SC 29576. 843-808-1384. Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily.