Coronavirus: Saskatoon thrifting community hits its stride during COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon thrifting community hits its stride during COVID-19 pandemic' Saskatoon thrifting community hits its stride during COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH: As budgets tighten and COVID-19-related layoffs continue, thousands in the Saskatoon area are looking to thrifting for supplementary income and affordable shopping options – Feb 26, 2021

Erin Petrow’s online thrift business has been booming since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

“People are seeing that these resellers are on Instagram now and are reaching out to us,” she said Friday.

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When she was laid off in September, finding thrifted items for resale online became a supplementary income.

“Going to different thrift stores and searching through them for treasures was a way to get out of the house and bring some joy to my life,” Petrow explained.

Administrators for the Buy and Sell Saskatoon Facebook group tell Global News their membership has doubled during the pandemic to more than 56,000.

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They say in the early months of 2020, they had around a thousand new membership requests per day.

University of Regina Economist Jason Childs said Thursday the substantial increase in thrift interest is the result of a perfect storm: layoffs, tightened budgets, and increased free time.

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“People are having more opportunity, more leisure time — for lack of a better term — to engage in these types of side-hustle activities,” he said.

Childs said while it’s unclear whether the trend will continue post-pandemic, the current economic impact is largely positive.

“If they’re replacing sort of imported ‘fast fashion’ with these thrifted objects sourced through these intermediaries, then that’s going to be a boost to the local economy,” Childs said.

“We’re going to see less of what’s called leakages in the local economy and we’re going to see a little more of that money circle through the (local) system.”

Read more: Online shopping sales surge by 99% in Canada amid coronavirus pandemic 

Owner of Instagram thrift business YXE Finds Tanya Turner began selling items to purge her basement storage– and find connections during COVID-19.

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She says this year, she has made more connections than she expected.

“It’s not just here in Saskatoon, but all over the province and even all over the country,” Turner said of the growing community.

Now, virtual “night markets” for thrift vendors are popping up in each province across Canada, to create a consolidated platform showcasing vintage and pre-loved items.

Saskatoon’s first market will be held online through the YXE Finds account on March 1 and Petrow said she’s excited to participate.

“If you’re keeping the money in the local economy, everyone benefits,” Petrow said. “Whether I’m making that $10 or someone else is, it’s a great way to kind of support those other community members.”

With the spotlight now on this growing community, each member is curious to see whether the thrifting trend will continue once the pandemic ends.

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon Farmers’ Market reopens after some COVID-19 restrictions ease' Saskatoon Farmers’ Market reopens after some COVID-19 restrictions ease
Saskatoon Farmers’ Market reopens after some COVID-19 restrictions ease – May 23, 2020

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