Today’s thrift shop tour takes us to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Allison and Peggy happened to visit one of The Snooty Fox’s stores on the day the chain was hosting one of its regular bus tours. It was one of more than 165 thrift stores we visited while researching our soon-to-be-published book, “ThriftStyle: The Ultimate Bargain Shopper’s Guide to Smart Fashion.” Here’s Peggy’s report:
For thrifters, Cincinnati is a bit of heaven. Like most cities, it has resale clothing stores run by Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, hospital auxiliaries and other worthy nonprofits. But it also has The Snooty Fox empire of seven consignment clothing stores, four consignment furniture stores and more than 200,000 consigners.
If its reach was limited to city residents, that means two out of every three residents of the Queen City, population 297,000, are recycling their clothing and furniture with The Snooty Fox!
The stores are so popular that they draw from Dayton, northern Kentucky and southern Indiana, as well as from hundreds of thrift shoppers who visit the stores on special bus tours held throughout the year. These weekend tours are big business – there are six planned between Sept. 10 and Dec. 2 — and spaces sell out fast. Shoppers get lunch on the bus and wine and extra discounts in the stores.
Founder and owner Donna Speigel (shown below) began her first consignment shop in 1980 in Cincinnati’s Terrace Park neighborhood with two employees. Today, consigners bring in more than 2,000 pieces of clothing on an average day. The stores employ more than 100 people and an army of clerks evaluate, price and organize the inventory. The stores are open seven days a week. The clothes are hung on well-organized racks and there are multiple try-on rooms, although in crunch times you may wait a bit to snag an open one.
“Our bus tour days are the busiest,” says Speigel. “It does get a little crazy.”
The turnover is rapid, helped along by 75% off sale racks. Twice a year, there is a special sale of designer merchandise, culled from all the stores and sent to the chain’s store in the Mariemont suburb.
Consigners receive 50 percent of the sales price and items can be brought in any time during store hours. Clothes must be clean, pressed and on hangers.
The inventory ranges from J. Crew to LL. Bean and Banana Republic to designer racks containing Prada, Donna Karan and Betsey Johnson. There are smaller sections for men’s and children’s clothes.
Proceeds from the stores’ frequent buyer cards (which give you a 10 percent discount) support the Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati, which helps children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other motor challenges. For more information, see http://www.shopsnooty.com/
The Snooty Fox. Mon – Fri. 10 a.m. -8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. -5 p.m., Sun. Noon -5 p.m.
8120 Beechmont Ave., Anderson, OH 513-231-1441
9500 Kenwood Rd., Blue Ash, OH 513-791-6524
3854 Paxton Ave., Hyde Park Plaza, Cincinnati, OH 513-533-4700
3168 Dixie Highway, Erlanger, OH 859-344-1635
11350 Montgomery Rd., Harpers Point, OH 513-489-2434
7364 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, OH 513-271-5127
7745 Tylers Place Blvd., West Chester, OH 513-759-2260
(Four other Snooty Fox stores sell consignment furniture.)