When the garage-sale season shuts down, people looking to raise a little cash feel cut off. Sure, there are pawn and consignment shops, eBay and Craigslist, but those have a hassle factor and a delay in payment.
Now there's a resale shop called New Uses that offers cash for your household goods and electronics; it's believed to be the only one in the Twin Cities. The same company also owns Clothes Mentor, a resale shop for women's clothing with nine Twin Cities locations that also pay cash. New Uses is buying merchandise for its Minnetonka location (Ridgedale Strip Mall, 13029 Ridgedale Drive, 952-681-7744, www.newuses.com).
Clothes Mentor, Plato's Closet and Once Upon a Child pay cash for clothes and children's items, but until now, re-sellers had only consignment shops for sofas or throw pillows unless they wanted to sell the items themselves. Consignment stores, which pay cash only when an item sells, take less risk because if an item doesn't sell, they're not out any cash.
Resale shops are a nice way to raise cash to get a jump on January's credit card bills, said Chad Olson, chief operations officer for Clothes Mentor and New Uses. Some consumers who used to donate dust gatherers such as crystal vases, breadmakers, and not-so-Precious Moments can now sell them for immediate green.
The downside is that New Uses is more discriminating than a charity. Its buyers want merchandise in new or nearly new condition, current styling, and in working order. Even if your 1980 Sherwood stereo receiver works perfectly without a blemish on it, it's a no-go. But your working iPod is a lock. If you've got larger furniture items, call first about acceptance or take photos, send an e-mail or ask in the store to avoid disappointment.
Cash is king at New Uses, but you're not likely to get as much as if you went to the trouble of selling it on eBay or Craigslist. Most sellers will get only slightly more than they might get at a garage sale. New Uses outlets sell an item for about twice as much as they paid for it.
The store is now open for sellers. Wanted items include furniture, kitchen items, electronics, home furnishings, small appliances, lighting, artwork and pet supplies, including aquariums. Major appliances, mattresses, upholstered furniture (unless in pristine condition), entertainment centers, computers, electronics older than a few years and items needing repair are not accepted.
The shelves already display a number of deals, such as a Garmin Nuvi 255W GPS device ($50), a Cuisinart DLC-10SCH food processor ($45), Bose bookshelf speakers ($150) and an oak dining table and six chairs ($300). Anyone can browse through the store, but until the shop is full with back stock, buying isn't allowed.
The Minnetonka store is the first in the Twin Cities, with more on the way, said Olson. The store is buying items daily with no appointments necessary, but items cannot be purchased until the tentative Feb. 2 opening. Other New Uses stores are located in Ohio and Chicago.