A Shift from Thrift


The Bee’s article “Placerville seeks to slow growth of thrift shops” (Cathy Locke, Nov. 5) explains the Placerville City Council’s recent 45-day moratorium on thrift stores. During this period, no second-hand shops can be established, expanded or relocated.

This is sad news for me and my friends, a community of toy-instrument bands and crate diggers.  We’ve reveled in the recent rise of thrift stores, but there is no doubt, the article points out, that their success is due to the failing national economy. Now, city officials believe the shops are hindering local economy. It’s a vicious cycle that benefits college students and low-income households — not to mention the nonprofits these shops often represent.

But with three new stores in the last year and two on the way, Placerville is hurting from the lack of sales tax. I think the city is embarrassed to have so many second-hand shops on main streets, complete with unattractive drop-off piles. Their storefronts aren’t classy like some Midtown boutiques, but their contents are so much more sensible, in this economic time or any time.

The City Council decision came as a result of Snowline Hospice‘s plan to move into an old auto dealership. Even though it’s been vacant for two years, the city would rather a regular retailer occupy that “prime commercial space.” Doesn’t it look worse to have a giant building vacant for so long? Isn’t second-hand business better than no business?

But it’s not like the city is closing all thrift stores, so all these people can chill.


November 11, 2009. Tags: , , , , , . currents.

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