KALISPELL — With the coronavirus pandemic putting many families in a financial bind, thrift stores and pawnshops have seen more customers for the holiday season.
“Thrift stores are wonderful, my thrift store especially. I have quality items that are possibly used, possibly new but are in great shape and make perfect gifts for a fraction of the cost," said Tammy Kester, owner of Hidden Treasures Montana Thrift Store.
Kester says that choosing a thrift store or second-hand shop for gifts helps not only the customer but the business, too.
“So not only is it helping me out by staying open but it's helping the customer and the purchaser out by saving money and they still get a great product at a great deal," said Kester.
Across Kalispell near Evergreen, the Gold Rush Pawn Shop saw an uptick in people selling items for quick cash.
“The last two, three months, yes there's been there's been more. There's been an uptick; I think people are selling the stuff they bought initially, a lot of the intake of firearms," said Robert Windorski, Gold Rush Pawn Shop General Manager.
Windorski says that most of the items in the pawn shop usually carry a significant discount.
“You can get them half to two-thirds off of retail depending on how often they are used. But usually try and take in items that are gently used," said Windorski.
Windorski wants to encourage members of the community to shop local for holiday gifts.
“If you can shop local, it keeps us open," he said.
Kester also wants to remind others that her thrift store is taking donations for unwanted items 24/7.
“I don't even care if it's me or somewhere else, but don't get rid of your things. You know, there's so much stuff but the green box and things like that, bring them here, bring them to me. I'm accepting donations all the time," said Kester.