Coronavirus: Medway thrift store taps social media to reach high-risk customers

A Medway thrift and consignment store owner is using social media to connect with her customers as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“I really needed to find a way to advertise and reach customers who weren’t comfortable coming into the store just yet,” Allysson Rudnicki, owner of Thrifty Sense said. “A lot of my customers are older and are in a vulnerable demographic. I wanted to find a way to be able to show them what’s happening in the store.”

Rudnicki, who is also a teacher in Tipp City, said that Thrifty Sense is a seasonal store. She was planning to reopen in March, but the weekend she was set to reopen was the week that Gov. Mike DeWine announced that schools were closing.

She ended up waiting to reopen the first week of June.

“I was definitely nervous about reopening and being able to keep everything sanitized and cleaned because it’s a thrift store - everything is coming in from donors,” Rudnicki said.

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When the store reopened, Rudnicki said that she changed the way the store operated. Donations are no longer coming through the front door. They are accepted through the back door and are held for a week in the stock room before the items are looked at.

After a week, the items are cleaned and sanitized.

Since the store has reopened, Rudnicki has been using Facebook Live to show her customers what items are available in the store. She also does “tub dives” - where she chooses a box from the stock room and sees what is inside.

Some of her customers interact with the Facebook Lives by claiming items and trying to guess what some items are.

Her most recent Facebook Lives have over 2.3K views.

“Some of my videos are very long and I’m just flattered that they would click on it,” Rudnicki said.

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She added that the Facebook Lives are a way to “visit” with her customers.

“Just to be able to kinda visit with them is something I really like about the store and I haven’t had that opportunity with many of them since we reopened,” Rudnicki said. “Saying hello to them on Facebook is as close as we have come.”

Even though she hasn’t seen a few of her regular customers due to COVID-19, Rudnicki said her sales have increased.

“It was mostly through online sales. I didn’t have as much foot traffic in June as I do now,” Rudnicki said. “I think people are a little more comfortable this month coming in and shopping.”

Thrifty Sense, located at 129 W. Main Street, is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. The thrift store donates 10 percent of their sales to the Deaf Community Resource Center.

For more information, search for Thrifty Sense on Facebook.

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