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The Rise of Resale

Published Thursday Jun 13, 2024

Author Dan Humer, Nashua Ink Link

Owner Wade Ungaro at the the Stuffed Garage second hand shop in Hudson, NH. (Photo/Dan Splaine Photography)

HUDSON, NH – Thrift stores can be the answer for giving away old clothing, tech, jewelry, furniture, and anything else you’re willing to impart new life to – with your donation comes the gift of ownership to someone else – as well as the happiness that can come from it.

But these days thrifting and resale represents a significant sector of the retail industry – thanks to a tough economy and growing interest in recycling and repurposing it’s a multi-billion dollar industry.  First Research estimates the used merchandise industry in the U.S. includes about 20,000 stores with combined annual revenue of about $15 billion.

And as trends go “re-commerce companies” including The RealReal, Poshmark, and thredUP, are expected to account for about 20% of the clothing industry by 2031, according to RetailDive.

Thrifting is a global phenomenon because business tends to be good no matter what’s happening with the economy on a global scale. According to the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops (NARTS) their 1,100 members report 7% growth in the resale market over the past two years due to heightened awareness for recycling and sustainability. That margin reflects the estimated number of new resale stores opening each year, minus the businesses that close.

Even more, it reflects the public’s interest in a good deal, according to NARTS.

A large selection of collectable Annalee Dolls at the the Stuffed Garage second hand shop in Hudson, NH. (Photo/Dan Splaine Photography)

For most people it’s still the thrill of the chase after a good bargain at local thrift stores. Giving or selling items to a store nearby is a great alternative to throwing old items out, especially since you can never know what value they still might have  as “new to someone else” items.  Thrift stores are like a gift that keeps on giving as you never know what you’ll find there, and inventories are changing all the time.

Each store has its own personality that helps draw people in who live in the same town or city. The Stuffed Garage is no different. Located at 76 Derry Road in Hudson, it is owned and operated by Wade Ungaro, along with his employee Andrew Stefanich . As you enter the shops you make your way into a space in which you are surrounded by shelves filled with an array of eclectic items.  

The store’s humble beginnings go back to 2023 when Ungaro opened his “stuffed garage” to the public, consisting of mostly yard sale items then. Finding the right items was key for Ungaro whether it was through estate sales or clearing out abandoned storage units by the truck load in order clear away unwanted items and keep whatever might be of interest to people to grow his inventory.

Ungaro leverages social media which has helped him to promote items of interest during his monthly sales events. His website homepage currently features an array of Annalee dolls – handmade in NH and popular in the mid to late 20th century. These items draw collectors who are always looking for something special – like the 11-inch Annalee buffalo bison priced at $175.

His last sale on May 18 had folks lined up before got the chance to open the doors of the shop. And while Ungaro says people like seeing items online so that they can “know before they go” what to expect at The Stuffed Garage, he still likes word-of-mouth promotion to achieve a sense of community.  Beyond those seeking a rare collectible, his customers range from young kids on the hunt for classic Hot Wheels or discovering tapes and records for the first time, to people in their 70s looking for home furnishings, like glassware and decor. 

Fiesta Ware on the shelves at the the Stuffed Garage second hand shop in Hudson, NH. (Photo/Dan Splaine Photography)

Originally from just outside of Chicago, Ungaro lives with his wife, a Pelham native, and their children. He attributes his success to the support of his family and to Stefanich, his sole employee. 

Ungaro says he’s found  success through trial and error –  pivoting to test different results to see what works best – from what’s on display on the shelves that might be relevant for buyers, to playing around with sales offerings and what gets people in the door. The key for Ungaro is finding a way to stand out. 

What doesn’t sell goes to charities as donations – including  the Upper Room in Derry, the Nashua Rage Cage to provide fodder for smash therapy, to local artists for repurposed sculpture materials,  and to provide an alternative to big box stores for those who are just moving out into their apartment.

“People come in and say they need help with their kid’s apartment … we either give them a great deal, or if we have something we can just give away, we’ll do that,” he says.

Ungaro has found his niche, and while business is brisk, his interest in thrifting goes beyond the bottom line, as well.

“I want to keep as much out of the landfill as possible,”says Ungaro, something that’s been  a priority since the inception of the Stuffed Garage.

Ungaro’s best advice when it comes to succeeding in business – no matter what the business, is simple: “Find good help because you can’t do it all by yourself.”

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit 

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