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Thrift stores and pawn shops feeling the effects of inflation

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Posted at 6:17 PM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 18:17:25-04

INDIANAPOLIS — These days a dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to due to inflation. Places like thrift stores are often a place people go if they are trying to save some money.

But even thrift stores like the Salvation Army have been seeing a decrease in sales.

"We would like to see our average ticket price be at least 20 dollars or above,” Holly Ehler a Captain with Salvation Army in Indianapolis said. “Right now, we are seeing them anywhere from nine dollars a ticket to maybe 24 dollars a ticket but it tends to lean more towards the lower end. "

Ehler and her husband run the adult rehabilitation center near downtown Indianapolis. They say a dip in sales directly affects the services they can provide men going through the program. Sales at the thrift stores help fund the program.

"We use to like to go and have outings and stuff for the men so they can learn what it's like to have fun doing recreational things while sober,” Ehler said. “Right now that takes a back seat to have to pay the bills and keep the lights on."

The Salvation Army thrift store has also had to increase its prices to pay employees. Finding staff is also proving to be difficult.

Right now, several of their administration positions are doubled up due to a lack of qualified applicants interested in working for them.

"We want to get the best staff possible to offer the counseling,” Ehler said. “It's hard to keep that fantastic staff when there is other places out there that are offering them hand over fist more money than we can."

For pawn shops, business is booming. Shops are not only seeing more people sell their things, but they are also loaning more money out to people on collateral.

"What we are seeing a lot of now is people coming in making payments by pawning another item just to get some money,” Erik Botts the owner of Indy Pawn said. “Which is not what we want to see in the pawn shop we feel bad for people. "

Botts says they have been loaning money at a 10-15% higher rate than before, and their buy business is up 20%. He says they've been pulling back on buying some items which he says is hard especially when some people are coming in desperate for help.

“You hear a lot about gas,” Botts said. “Then obviously food and everything is more expensive. We've always heard that, but it just seems endless now."

Indy Pawn says it is working with people during this time so they are able to reclaim their items. The Salvation Army says it plans on rolling out an e-commerce page to hopefully increase sales.

They say Salvation Army in Detroit has done this and found success through doing so.