Arkansas consignment and antique shops seeing business increase

Local retail shops are seeing an increase in customers despite the impact that inflation is having on many big businesses.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — If you’ve shopped at any big retailer lately, then you’ve probably noticed a price increase on some items.

That’s something Heather Rynders, the owner of Fashion Exchange in Little Rock has noticed personally. 

“It’s been so hard lately, everything is so extremely expensive,” said Rynders.

The reason behind the uptick in prices on some of your favorites items is because of inflation rates.

However, despite pandemic woes, Fashion Exchange isn’t suffering.

“We’ve lowered our prices, rather than raise them right now,” Rynders said.

Her consignment shop relies on donors rather than vendors, so increased prices across the board aren’t impacting her.

“The luxury of having a resale business is that we get to sell things at a better price,” Rynders said.

They’re not the only ones seeing success either. South Main Creative, Valerie Wingert, the owner, said business is doing well there too.

Her shop is an antique mall art gallery where they sell antiques, local vintage art, and handmade items, and thrift items.

She believes that people consider stores like South Main Creative to be a solution for their shopping needs when bigger retailers don’t have what shoppers are looking for.

“People are really more mindful I think of not only supporting small businesses, but making purchases that are economically and environmentally sustainable,” Wingert said.

She added that buying antique and thrift items at local businesses can lower the pressure on already stressed retailers.

“When you buy second hand, you’re not creating demand for newly made mass produced items,” Wingert said.

As a result, she said she is seeing new customers come through the door.

“Business has increased and it’s really been good,” Wingert said.

Most of the items on her shelves are from people who live in Arkansas.

Although she isn’t waiting for items to be delivered to her, she said she has made price adjustments.

“We do have increased costs with inflation, but you’re not going to see immediate [and] huge price increases,” Wingert said.

Rynders believes once high prices caused by inflation begin to bottom, she thinks business at consignment shops will continue to boom.

“We’re in a recession proof business, I truly believe that,” Rynders said. “There’s nothing better than scoring an item for a quarter of the price that you would in a retail store.”

Despite the current inflation rate, Jen Psaki, White House press secretary said that retail sales increased by 3.8% in January.

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