by John Russel Jones

Winmark Corporation announced today that its stores have now recycled 1.5 billion items since 2010, when the brand began tracking this metric. Stores in the Winmark retail portfolio — Plato’s Closet, Once Upon A Child, Play it Again Sports, Style Encore, and Music Go Round — reached this total on Tuesday, November 22nd across their 1,293 franchise locations.

“Winmark has been at the forefront of the sustainability movement for more than 30 years,” said Renae Gaudette, Chief Operating Officer. “Our core model of providing Resale for Everyone has remained the same since our company began. But what’s changed is the cultural appreciation for what we do. Our franchisees, sellers and customers recognize the incredible value of a retail location that provides low prices by preventing waste.”

All Winmark stores source their inventory directly from their surrounding communities, paying out an average of $350,000 per store in the process. This model expands the lifespan of a wide variety of consumer goods, including sporting goods, musical instruments, and apparel across all ages and genders.

As the EPA estimates, 11 million tons of textiles go to waste each year, contributing to the 292.4 million tons of municipal landfill waste; the need for recycling options with consumer appeal is higher than ever. Winmark’s many stores play a role in reducing those figures: the 1.5 billion items recycled equals approximately 458,488 items recycled every day; 19,285 items per hour, or 321 every minute throughout 2022.

“There are several, equally meaningful ways to look at this number,” said Renae Gaudette, COO, “One and a half billion items saved from the landfill. One and a half billion cash payouts to community members, simply for cleaning out their attic or garage. One and a half billion bargains given to our customers, on everything from clothing to athletic gear to musical instruments. This milestone embodies Winmark’s commitment to sustainability, community impact, and providing Resale for Everyone. We’re so proud of the staff, franchisees, employees, and visitors to our stores who made this possible.”

Winmark’s “Resale for Everyone” mission means bringing locally sourced, high-value, easy-to-find, quality used products to communities throughout the country. With 2,800 open territories, opportunities for Winmark franchising are readily available to qualified partners.

ABOVE: Photo by Ron Lach