Robert Thompson is an important link between you and I, thrift stores and the developing world, countries with so much poverty that daily necessities like clothes are financially out of reach.
Nice place to be, especially if you can make your living at it.
Let me back up a minute before introducing Robert and his company, Seconds, to you.
A few years ago, St Vincent de Paul Society closed its Dunlop St three-story thrift store and sold the property. The store had been around for years and was an important service to many people. What caused the closure? Dumping fees, essentially.
People would ‘dump’ their old sofas, mattresses, chairs… things that were not fit to pass on to someone else… at the back of the building after hours. Store staff would arrive to work to find their donation area full of furniture they couldn’t offer to anyone. The store was stuck hauling this debris to the dump and paying heavy fees to do it. That irresponsibility on the part of others put the nail in the coffin of a store that really served its customers.
Back to Robert. Dumping fees are a huge problem for thrift stores. They receive much more product than they can ever put out on shelves. But thrift stores depend on people’s donations and don’t want to turn anybody away. Robert says the average thrift store spends $25,000+ to get rid of stuff that people drop off after hours.
Enter Robert Thompson and Seconds. Robert recycles 75% of that unusable thrift store drop-off material. He bundles clothes, some for rags and some in huge bundles that go to developing countries and become clothes for people to wear.
He picks up plastic, metal dishes, pots and pans, books and recycles them. He owns the truck tractor and rents the trailers that sit at thrift store sites. Store employees are able to sort unwanteds into the trailers and Robert takes it from there.
Their first contract began through the Salvation Army store in Orillia and just grew. At first they were used just for transport, and now Robert (aided by his father, a trucking broker) is growing the business to include textiles and electronic recyclables. Seconds has become an OES depot and is able to take on all electronic products to recycle components… somewhere for those computer monitors and keyboards and those old ghetto blasters and analogue tv sets!
“At the end of the day, if there weren’t people like me, and people to sell it to, the charities with thrift stores wouldn’t exist… the dumping fees would kill them. People wouldn’t donate to thrift stores because they wouldn’t understand why they were throwing things out. We all play an important role,” says Robert.
He’s right. It’s one more link in the chain from my garage or basement or closet to a place which recycles into retail to a place which bundles for redistribution internationally to a place where items with use stay out of dumps and benefit other people.
And that, in my books, is a win-win-win.
Seconds. email@example.com. 705 458-8611. 7233 Yonge St in Innisfil. www.secondswholesale.com