Savers

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Savers, Inc.
TypePrivate
IndustryRetail
Founded1954; 68 years ago (1954)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
HeadquartersBellevue, Washington, U.S.
Key people
  • Mark Walsh
  • (CEO)
ProductsSecond-hand clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, electronics, toys, and housewares
Websitehttp://www.savers.com
A Value Village storefront

Savers, Inc. headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, U.S., is a privately held for-profit thrift store retailer offering second hand merchandise.[1] 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. Savers is known as Value Village in the Pacific Northwest, and most of Canada, and Village des Valeurs in Quebec. Some locations in the area surrounding the District of Columbia are under the name Unique.[2] In Australia and other regions of the U.S., the stores share the corporation's name.

Berkshire Partners bought a 50% stake in the company in 2000.[3] Freeman Spogli & Co. became the majority owner in 2006.[4] Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital bought out Freeman's shares in 2012.[5]

In March 2019, Savers reached a restructuring agreement to hand ownership of the company over to private equity firms Ares Management and Crescent Capital Group.[6]

Business[edit]

Savers' business model involves partnership with local non-profits and 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. As of 2011, the company had paid $1.1 billion to approximately 130 nonprofit partners, and as of 2012, had 315 stores worldwide and reached $1 billion in revenue.[7][8]

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.[citation needed]

Controversy[edit]

In May 2015, the Minnesota Attorney General filed suit[9] claiming that the corporation was misleading the public. The Attorney General pointed out, for example, that Savers pays only a very small percentage to the non-profit charities which partner with Savers (and for items other than clothing, nothing). Additionally, the Attorney General filed suit[10] against charities that partnered with Savers, for failing to monitor Savers for compliance with their partnership contract.

In November 2019 King County Superior Court Judge Roger Rogoff ruled that the corporation had misled the public into believing the organization was a charity. This decision was primarily motivated by marketing which implied that purchases made by customers directly benefited charities when, in fact, the corporation retains all profits made from customer purchases. Penalties have not yet been determined in the case and the corporation may appeal the decision.[11]

In August 2021, a Washington state appeals court overturned the 2019 ruling that found Bellevue-headquartered thrift chain TVI Inc., which operates Value Village and Savers, had misled customers by deceptively marketing itself as a charity.[12]

Safety concerns[edit]

In December 2018, a family in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada reported their six-year-old son found a hypodermic needle and two partially-used tubes of glue in a used Mouse Trap board game they had bought from a Value Village in Coquitlam, British Columbia.[13][14]

In October 2019, Chris Turner reported getting a needlestick injury when he tried on a boot at a Value Village (in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada) and was told he would need blood tests including for HIV and hepatitis.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ares Seeks Debt Deal to Back Takeover of Savers Thrift Chain". Bloomberg. March 25, 2021.
  2. ^ "Thrift & Second-Hand Store Locator | Donation Locations | Savers, Value Village, and Unique". stores.savers.com. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  3. ^ Investor buys Value Village stake
  4. ^ Freeman Spogli Spends $550 Million on Savers
  5. ^ Freeman Passes Savers Inc. On to TPG, Leonard Green in $1.6B-Plus Deal
  6. ^ Doherty, Katherine. "PE Firms Crescent, Ares Take Over Savers Thrift Chain in Restructuring". Bloomberg.com. Bloomber LP. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Retail chain joining thrift store scene For-profit Savers poses competition to Goodwill, Salvation Army outlets". The Buffalo News. February 6, 2011.
  8. ^ "Thrift store wars heat up with new players in St. Louis market," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 9, 2013. [1]
  9. ^ http://www.ag.state.mn.us/Office/PressRelease/20150521SaversLawsuit.asp
  10. ^ "Minnesota sues epilepsy group over Savers thrift store ties | MPR News".
  11. ^ https://www.seattletimes.com/business/retail/value-villages-marketing-deceived-customers-judge-rules-in-case-brought-by-washington-attorney-general/
  12. ^ https://www.seattletimes.com/business/court-overturns-deceptive-practices-ruling-against-value-village/
  13. ^ Agahi, Emad (December 3, 2018). "'It's incomprehensible': 6-year-old finds needle inside Value Village board game". Canada. CTV News. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  14. ^ Lazaruk, Susan (December 4, 2018). "Parents incensed after son, 6, finds syringe, toxic glue in thrift store board game". Local news. Vancouver Sun. Postmedia Network Inc. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  15. ^ Lazatin, Emily; Little, Simon (October 23, 2019). "'I just froze': Man warns others after finding syringe in boot at B.C. Value Village". Vancouver. Global News. Retrieved April 8, 2020.

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