Volusia County woman campaigns to connect thrift shops

Volusia County Thrift Shoppers started as thrift alliance

By Loren Korn - Reporter

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Volusia County known for thrift shops? One woman wants it to be, and has created a thrift alliance to help the county get there.

Many local thrift and consignment shops have signed up to join the Volusia County Thrift Shoppers to help improve the local economy and environment.

"We have a lot of thrift shops and I assumed there were a lot of thrift shoppers," said Laura Heffernan, founder of Volusia County Thrift Shoppers.

Heffernan isn't the only one who thought thrift shops when she thought of Volusia County.

"It's been titled the thrift shop capital of the United States, just because so many people saw so many thrift shops," she said.

Now, Heffernan wants to make it official and promote it nationally.

 "I saw there was a need for saving a lot of the items that were being put by the side of the road, so I wanted to promote the thrift shops. Simple as that."

She started a local association for thrift and consignment store owners to meet and share ideas and then promoted them on her Facebook page, called Volusia County Thrift Shoppers. Heffernan said her page is working. She has more than 5,300 followers and reached 36,000 people in Volusia County since creating her page in October.

"A couple of stores have said they've actually doubled their business," said Heffernan.

Save The Animals Store not only helps pets in need but is also a regular thrift shop. It said the website has tremendously helped with sales. Furniture & More Consignment Store just signed up and already has seen the benefit.

"We've had a few people come in and tell us they've seen us on the website," said store owner, Leon Axley.

Heffernan also mentioned another Facebook page she's involved with called Volusia County Curb Alert. It's a page where discarded items can go to a good home, and not end up in a landfill.

"It's booming, it's exciting. Who knew I'd be in the thrift shop capital," said Heffernan.

All the thrift store owners who are members of the association plan to meet in the beginning of August to discuss business ideas and also to get prepared for National Thrift Day, which is on Aug. 17.

If you're interested in becoming a member or want to check out your local thrift store, visit the alliance website. You can also check them out on Facebook.

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