NORTH RICHLAND HILLS (CBSDFW.COM) – More than ever before, customers aren’t the only people looking to buy clothes in North Texas boutiques.

“We just look for styles, conditions, missing buttons,” a sales clerk at Clothes Mentor in North Richland Hills told her customer.

Stores like Clothes Mentor buy clothes from its customers too.  It’s a resale shop. The store buys used clothes — in the case of Clothes Mentor, garments that are less than two years old — and sells them for far less than new.

“So that $60 Ann Taylor blouse will sell for $18 to $20 in our store,” said Chuck Bell, whose family owns ten resale stores.

“I was impressed when I came in, because the clothes were so cute in the window I thought it would be pricier,” said Shanna Byrnes as she left the store with new garments and shoes.

The store is lined with racks of fashionable clothes, rows of glamorous shoes, towers of costume jewelry and a wall covered floor to ceiling in purses.

Stores like these are flourishing in the tight economy. The Clothes Mentor chain alone will open eight stores in north texas this year.

“The resale business last year grew, I believe, 12%,” Bell said. “I know in our stores we saw about an 18% growth rate last year. And my Plano clothes store was up 75% in the first quarter. That’s not just recession. That’s ladies looking for a bargain and putting together an outfit at a fair price.”

One estimate by America’s Research Group, figures 12-15% of American consumers will shop in resale stores this year.
And about 5% of annual resale growth wasn’t just due to the sluggish economy, it was motivated by environmental awareness.

“Its not just recession, its the recycling revolution. The green thing. People buy things the put it in their close and wear them three or four times and then its the fast fashion idea: We want to change out what we’re wearing.

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