Value Village price increase draws backlash

Shoppers looking for alternatives as thrift store prices rise

Stretch Thrift Store
Stretch Thrift Store at 974 Pape Ave. is one of several local stores whose prices are affected by Value Village.(Jessica Lopez/Toronto Observer) 

Value Village has received backlash in media and social media, as well as from customers, for its recent price increases.

Tina Jarvis, who has been shopping at Value Village for 15 years, says she has been noticing Value Village’s prices have been increasing even before COVID-19.

“Their prices have increased and some stuff is outrageous,” Jarvis said. “If you’re getting an item from thrift stores, I feel like you should always have a very good discount, not just five dollars less than the average price.”

Value Village is a renowned thrift store. Their store slogan says they’re committed to making secondhand, second nature.

Customers who buy from Value Village as an alternative for buying necessities, mostly secondhand clothing, are now left searching for another option as the price continues to rise.

Thrifting hot topic on social media

Many regular shoppers of the for-profit company believe that thrifting has become a trend. Social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube play a significant role in making secondhand shopping a first choice for the younger generation.

When you enter #ThriftShop on TikTok, you can expect 3.7 billion results. Gen Z and millennials members often present videos about exploring and finding hidden gems as they sift through the racks of clothing. 

Eda Brennan, who thrift shops regularly, says social media’s influence on the trend of thrifting depends on the generation.

“I’m 35, so it [social media] doesn’t affect me personally,” Brennan said. 

A question among frequent thrift shoppers is how does their price increase influence other local thrift stores?

In an interview, Ryan Mendonca, store manager at Stretch Thrift Store on Pape Avenue, said they set prices at their establishment after checking the prices at other stores like Value Village and Salvation Army Thrift Store.

They want to remain competitive by matching their prices, while also keeping their price range affordable, he said.

However, Stretch Thrift Store, also takes into account the branding of the item, as well as the quality of them their price.

“Thank You for shopping local” sign is shown in the window of Stretch Thrift Store. (Jessica Lopez/Toronto Observer)

Brennan said that there are still other alternatives to thrifting even with the price increase. 

“You just have to get creative,” Brennan said. “Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, and eBay are some other outlets where people can find secondhand clothing.” 

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Posted: Apr 8 2022 11:13 am
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