||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (December 2013)|
|Founded||1954 San Francisco, California|
|Products||Second hand clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, electronics, toys, and housewares.|
Savers, Inc. headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, is a privately held for-profit thrift store chain offering secondhand shopping. An international company, Savers has more than 315 locations throughout the United States, Canada and Australia, and receives its merchandise by paying money to non-profit organizations for donated clothing and household items, and through direct donation by individuals. Savers is known as Value Village in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and most of Canada, and Village des Valeurs in Quebec. In Australia and other regions of the United States, the stores share the corporation's name. Main owners are Tom Ellison, son of the founder Bill Ellison, and Freeman Spogli & Co. a private equity company (May 2009)
Under Savers' business model, the company partners with local non-profits by purchasing and reselling donated items. The non-profits collect and deliver donated goods to Savers, which pays them for the items at a bulk rate regardless of whether they ever make it to the sales floor. Savers has more than 160 non-profit partners throughout the United States, Canada and Australia, which it pays more than $117 million annually. As of 2012, the company had 315 stores worldwide and reached $1 billion in revenue. 
Items deemed resellable are displayed for purchase in stores. Savers also has a recycling program and attempts to recycle any reusable items that cannot be sold at the stores, as well as any items that do not sell over a period of time to make room for fresh merchandise. Savers has buyers for its recyclables throughout the world and attempts to keep as much donated product out of the waste stream as possible.
Business Operation Issues and Transparency
In the United States and Canada the business model for many non profits was that the organization would call homes for donations, and a truck would pick them up. By the early 2000s many organizations like the Association of Community Living, partnered with Value Village because they believed it was too expensive to do the pickups and resell to used goods merchants. Many of the contracts these organizations signed with Value village provides a very small return compared to the (perceived) large amounts of money Value Village/ Savers retains. According to an article that appeared in the Alberta Report in 1996 "According to the Times, for every $1.00 that went to undersigned charities from some Ellison-owned thrift stores, $2.55 went to the Ellison associates".
While the SAVERS business model can be seen as controversial, it matches accepted business practices in the for-profit world, of which it is a part. What is unseen in these comments is the tax base and benefits paid by SAVERS to local, state and federal governments and to their employees, providing funds for local improvements and health care coverage that the traditional NFP thrift stores fail to provide. In many stores, the contribution to the NFP partners (reported as 'cost of goods' in the company P&L statement) exceeds the bottom line profit for the company, and can be as much as 30% of the overall gross sales..
- "Thrift store wars heat up with new players in St. Louis market," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 9, 2013.