Buying used products no longer rhymes with poverty

Buying used goods no longer means poverty

UPDATE DAY

Inflation drives up the cost of living while wages don't keep up, making second-hand items attractive. Quebecers are very fond of them, reveals a new survey.

Two out of three have bought, sold, given or received used goods between May 2021 and May 2022, indicates a survey produced by the magazine Protégez-vous, which devotes a good part of its next edition to the subject. 

“The second-hand market has never been so accessible”, writes journalist Amélie Cléroux. 

She demonstrates in her file how it is possible to save, and to save a lot, by buying used.

For five baby essentials, namely a stroller, washable diapers, an activity mat, a bed and a high chair, she managed to save 869  $ compared to the price of new. 

And for a first apartment – ​​dining room set, sofa and library – we are talking about savings of $1009. 

Buying used goods no longer means poverty

Buying used goods no longer means poverty

Not just internet

Marketplace, which emanates from Facebook and is owned by Meta, is by far the most popular option with Quebecers. 

But there are also stores like those of Renaissance or the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP).

These NPOs receive donations and put them up for sale. With the profits, they pay decent wages and create social programs.

” We help 2,000 people a year with our social mission,” acknowledges the general manager of Renaissance, Éric St-Arnaud, not really known for showing off. 

He sees that the clientele is changing. 

“We have long been associated with poverty and this is less and less the case,” he says. 

At the SSVP, we make the same observation.

” We are working hard to restore our image, to make it younger and more focused on the customer experience,” enumerates with passion Valérie Gagnon, new director for 1 year.

Crossed yesterday at Renaissance, Etna Jarquin is not going to complain.

Etna Jarquin, foreign student and client of Renaissance

“I like coming here. I'm a student, and it allows me to buy nice pieces of clothes for not much », says the 28-year-old Mexican, smiling. 

Arrival in the country 5 months ago, she quickly discovered the place.

“I come often enough that the products have changed when I arrive,” she laughs.

While Renaissance's clientele has changed a lot, its mission remains completely intact.

The non-profit organization (NPO) has 17 department stores in Quebec, in addition to 58 locals where people can come and donate their objects and clothing. 

“We take donations from people, we sell them, and we are able to pay for our social programs. Everyone gets something out of it “, proudly says the director, Éric St-Arnaud. 

First, the organization employs 1,150 people who earn salaries much higher than the minimum, which have social benefits and pension funds. 

Then, the NPO offers integration paths, i.e. paid six-month training. 

Added to this are the Centers d'Aide à l'Emploi Renaissance (CAER), which can be found in many of the organization's thrift stores. 

All of this is almost 100 % financed by store sales. 

”  I have no owners, I am an NPO run by a board of directors of 12 volunteers “, recalls the director. < /p>

This allows him to have free rein to help people, as Renaissance intends to do. 

In total, the NPO helps more than 2,000 people a year to reintegrate. 

“100 % local”

Éric St-Arnaud, who has been running Renaissance for four years and who has worked there for 14 years, is particularly proud to be at the head of a company that is “100% local”.

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“That's what makes us strong. We receive locally. We sell locally. We create jobs locally, and in addition we help the world locally,  he says. 

A recent study also makes him very confident in the future.

“ By 2030, stores like ours will outsell fast fashion stores. There is a real need for what we sell,” he says.

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