Tri Valley Herald:

While Wall Street traders were losing their shirts this week, Nicole Zimdars was busy buying them by the armful.

Zimdars is the owner of a new branch of fashion-conscious, used-clothing store Plato’s Closet, called so not because the classical Greek philosopher coveted Diesel brand jeans, but because the chain seeks growth through embodying the Platonic ideals of frugality and sustainability.

The business model, like the clothing itself, is nothing new.

National chains like Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads Trading Company have for years replenished their stock by buying unwanted clothing from people in exchange for cash or store credit.

And if practicing frugality and thrift means shopping in a boutique atmosphere with a Guns N’ Roses soundtrack, the better for everyone, according to Zimdars. She and others in the second-hand business say the model creates a win-win situation for their businesses and their clients amid economic turmoil and evaporating credit.

“I think for buying clothes the state of the economy is very helpful,” Zimdars said. “This gives you a change (of clothes) without spending the same amount of money.”

That approach seems to be working. Though her franchise opened barely a month ago in downtown San Mateo, Zimdars said the store is steadily getting busier.

Monette Pechina of San Bruno was browsing the denim racks on her lunch break. She works for a nearby biotech firm and said she isn’t worried about her job necessarily, but rather the economy as a whole.

“When you want your retail therapy it’s good to go to a place where you can get a bargain,” she said, pulling a pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans off a rack. “At Nordstrom’s these cost $179, here they’re selling them for $30.”

Read on…

Originally posted by Cris Zimermann on October 13, 2008 in Franchise Site.

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