Thrift malls thriving amid economic recovery

Summing up the allure of thrift stores, Dana Smith said it boils down to economics and comfort.

“There’s less driving around, gas is too high to go to yard sales and stuff like that,” the Columbus resident said while strolling through Chapman’s Thrift Mall on Wynnton Road. “Plus you don’t have to worry about the weather. Older people can come because it’s cooler.”

Of course, there’s also the desire to find something unique and at a bargain. In Smith’s case, she collects glass cats and antique bottles.

“That’s my thing, stuff that don’t take up a lot of room,” she said. “But every now and then you will run up on something that you need instead of something you want.”

Whatever the reason for purchasing or collecting, the Columbus market is experiencing a surge in new thrift stores and malls. And some that have been around a while are expanding.

One of the biggest success stories might be Joey’s Thrift Mall on 10th Avenue. The business, which previously operated in the old Bibb Mill before that structure’s fiery destruction in October 2008, is now preparing to expand for the fifth time, said manager Robert Gooch.

The mall, which now has nearly 200 booths, is looking to add a large furniture area with an electronics area and additional parking. It is situated inside a former Royal Crown Cola bottling plant that also served as air-conditioned storage space after RC’s closure here.

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