Collectors and bargain hunters have roamed the aisles of Treasure Mart for decades, seeking the perfect oak sideboard or mid-century modern table. But what happens to the stuff that nobody buys? “If it’s merchandise that hasn’t sold for a long time or merchandise that we’re having second thoughts about accepting, we move it out,” says Elaine Johns, owner of the Detroit St. consignment shop. “For furniture or more expensive items, we call consignors and ask if they want to pick it up or recycle. A lot of them tell us just to recycle.”
So once or twice a month Treasure Mart delivers unsold items to local thrift shops. “We actually have some customers who just come in to periodically check on the T.M. materials we have,” emails Jack Middlebrook, manager of Recycle Ann Arbor’s ReUse Center. “Usually customers can spot the T.M. materials by the stickers left on them … most of the merchandise doesn’t stay in the store long enough to warrant removing the T.M. stickers.”
The ReUse Center gets the lion’s share, but Habitat for Humanity ReStore, the Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop, Kiwanis Thrift Sale, and the ShareHouse have also received Treasure Mart castoffs. They’re not easy to find there, because those stores generally remove prior store and garage sale labels. But some do slip through–a Treasure Mart sticker was recently spotted on a shelving unit at the Kiwanis Thrift Sale West.