Episode 117: Recycled and Reused Retail Goods with Savers

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GreenTalk Radio Host Sean Daily discusses retail goods business models and the market for second-hand, reused goods with Tony Shumpert, Vice President of Operations with Savers Recycling, Inc.

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Announcer: Hi, and welcome to Green Talk a pod cast series from GreenLivingIdeas.com. Green Talk helps listeners in their efforts to live more eco-friendly lifestyles through interviewers with top vendors, authors and experts from around the world. We discuss the critical issues facing the global environment today, as well as the technologies, products and practices that you can employ to go greener in every area of your life.

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Sean Daily: Hi everybody, this is Sean Daily with Green Talk Radio and Greenlivingideas.com now also on the personal live media network. Welcome to another episode of the show. Today we are going to be talking about ‘Recycled and reused retail goods’ for the company that would know a lot about that it’s ‘Savers’ they are based out of Bellevue, Washington and they are a chain of secondhand stores, they specialize in recycled clothing, accessories books, furniture and more. They have over 200 retail locations throughout US, Canada and Australia.

My Guest from Saver’s today is Tony Shumpert, who is the Vice President of Supply Chain Operations. Tony welcome to Green Talk Radio.

Tony Shumpert: Hi, Sean, thank you for having me.

Sean: Our pleasure and I love to hear about this business model, it is fascinating to me, the idea of having chain of retail stores that are dealing in secondhand goods. Maybe you’d just start by telling us a little bit about the story of Savers and how it came to be.

Tony: Well, over fifty years ago our founder was a one point of time decided to start a small retail store in California, and really get the idea that he could do better for his family and the community by running a retail store on his own and that’s where it started and it quickly grew from there and stayed in the, that our current chairman is also is the son of our founder.

What really gets around to understand is the fact that we believe by operating secondhand stores we can do good for our community and now in addition to our community, our environment provided opportunity for those that need affordable fashions for themselves and for their family, they have a place to be able to come and do that.

Sean: Yeah, I know that’s a great idea and I love it too, because my own personal experience with this has been, I gone to vintage shops and things like this and they often tend to be very high priced and sort of, this one place locally called it’s called, it’s like “HUD Cud [sp] store” and it’s more ‘hot pricing’ because its great to find these goods but they tend to be small boutique marks type stores.

I would love the idea of bringing this to the masses, because, you guys say this in some of your materials. It’s a kind of like a treasure hunt, I mean you end up finding goods, clothing especially, I am of thinking of where it’s something you just can’t find off-the-shelf in a normal retail store, it’s one of a kind and for individualist, like myself that they like to have things that are unique and now end up at a party with the guy, he’s got the G-Cruise [sp] on, you know that you have.

Tony: Well no question about it, and you know one of the thing that continues to fascinate me as I watch many other industries rest become more eco-friendly is that by regional design way back then, our model from day one has helped those people and to plan it.

Today Savers prevents more than Five hundred million pounds of goods from entering landfills and we pay out more than one hundred seventy million dollars annually to non-profit alliances. So, All along the way, we found that this model that we were founded on has been able to hold true through time and is continuing to get better.

Sean: What is your day-to-day role with the company?

Tony: I will see in supply chain operations that includes both for churn men[sp] and recycling for Savers, so that means that the acquisition of our product as well as managing the waste stream, our interlink inside of our company. That’s a great structure because it allows us to line up the loss beyond buying what our stores can sell.
In our effort in reducing the impact on the environment, I would say “don’t sell all under the same leadership responsibility”,

Sean: I see, okay great, I hear that you mentioned that the non-profit alliance and I want to hear more about that.

But we are going to take a quick break first and then we will be back with Tony Shumpert who is the Vice President of Supply Chain Operations with Savers, this is Sean Daily on Green Talk Radio, hang on we will be right back.

[Commercial break]

Sean: Hi everybody and welcome back on Green Talk Radio this is Sean Daily and we are talking today on Recycled and Reused retail goods with Savers. I am speaking with Tony Shumpert who is the Vice President of Supply Chain Operations for Savers they are based out of Bellevue, Washington and have over 200 retail locations in US, Canada and Australia.

Tony we were talking before the break just a little bit about the basics of your business model and the company itself and I’m curious so, we talked a little bit about, you mentioned that you were with non-profits as a benefactor, can you tell us about that relationship and how that works?

Tony: We do and it’s on both ends of the businesses, both on built on 89 answers as well as purchasing IM’s and donating and finding new life for reusable items is a very environmentally friendly way to shop. We are seeing people from all walks of life increasingly turning the secondhand stores. 

It would have seems to be a real moving out there towards spending mass and moving with us. When you shop secondhand or thrift, you now conserve the planets’ natural resources by reducing the energy and raw materials needed to manufacture new goods. You also eliminate waste by consuming sensibly. The added bonus buying reusable quality products is less expensive than buying new items.

Sean: So Tony, for those of our listeners who want to bring-in unwanted goods and reuse them this way to contribute them to Savers or just pass them on to other people. What would you recommend they will be doing?

Tony: Well, you can donate IM’s directly at your local Saver’s or Guy village stores during business hours. You can place that at the IM’s and donation bins found around the community or schedule pick-up from one of our non-profit alliances. You can find out who these non-profits are in your community by contacting your local store or visiting our website for complete listing of local charities and your listeners there in.

Sean: Okay, am I correct that the website is savers.com?

Tony: That’s right, www.savers.com.

Sean: So can you provide some guides at this point about items you do and do not accept there at Savers for people, in case they want to bring these things in.

Tony: Well yes, I am glad you asked that question because the whole goal is to be able to reuse these items.  So, sub gently use clothing and household goods including small electronics, furniture, kitchen items, we don’t accept items unsuitable for resale, anabatic [sp] foods or that violate local health codes. Anabatic foods, weapons, hazardous materials and large appliances.

 

Sean: That’s funny about weapons, like I’m sure there are some people that would actually bring-in a U-shock and….. [laughter]

So, like Hi, it’s only been used once. Oh man, we do not even want to know. But I must say curious of you indulge us in and telling us maybe to give us as best you can do over the audio or radio format here. An idea what is it like to walk into a Saver’s store, how it is laid out, just kind of what the retail experience is of being a customer in one of your stores?

Tony: Sure, our stores are generally 23 to 28 thousand square feet in size, so it is a big retail floor, but when you come into our retail spaces, what’s most unique about it; it’s that it is very organized. Items are separated by department and by category and by color and so it is a very organized enjoyable shopping experience. Inside of that, you find the treasures, and so you could find a product top right next to a G-Crew top, and that’s the beauty of shopping secondhand is that those treasures are all hidden inside of those racks and you could find them at any time.

We have a great selection of men’s ladies and children’s clothing as well as infant products, toys and furniture. Most of our stores are generally made up the same and there is a clear look and feel to zero sources so that you know exactly where you need to go to find what you want.

Sean: Well, once again, really cool business model and hope to see expansion not only in terms of Savers internally with the types of goods you guys cover in the future but also hope that this service is an inspiration to other industries with this business model , that they certainly think that it’s applicable to just about any industry out there in reusing these goods instead of always creating them from scratch which obviously is a much higher cost to both ecologically as well as to consumers.

For those of you who are interested in today’s podcast and the topics we covered, you may also want to check-out the greenlivingideas.com website under topics both under fashion and beauty, clothing and fashion as well as the reuse category which is under simple living.

And lastly for those of you interested in recycled clothing and eco-fashion, I encourage you to check-out Green Talk Radio episode #65 where I talk to Karen Craven who is the founder of the LA based burning torch. They make recycled vintage clothing.  Again my guest today has been Tony Shumpert, he is the Vice President of Supply Chain Operations for Savers, they are a line of retail stores that deals with secondhand goods, and they have over 200 retail locations in the US. Canada and Australia.

Tony thanks again so much for being with us today.

Tony: Great, thanks Sean, I appreciate being on the show.

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