At the Sassy Fox, Jessica Moreland is busy.
I’ve just noticed a lot more business than we normally get,” she says. “A lot of new faces, people that haven’t been shopping here before.”
The Sassy Fox is Moreland’s consignment shop. It sells previously-owned women’s clothes. Moreland says business was always steady, but now there’s even more.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the economy right now,” says Moreland. “I think people are looking for still nice clothes but looking to spend a little bit less money.”
Moreland says more women are coming in to sell fine jewelry too, or even trade it for clothes.
A few miles from Sassy Fox, Kevin Roppel has seen more customers looking to save money, too. He’s a car mechanic.
“We’re seeing more and more people hang on to their cars, having to hang on to their cars, and having the service work done instead of trading them in on a new vehicle,” he says.
Roppel is co-owner of Roppel Industries. And like Moreland, he’s seen customers give up some luxuries.
“The audio side of it, the tinted windows, the exterior,” he says. “If you have an accident and it’s a minor one and you get paid from the insurance company a certain amount of money to go have your car repaired, and if it’s still driveable who cares what it looks like? I’m going to keep the money and put it in my budget.”
“People want to keep their cars as long as possible,” says University of Louisville Finance Professor Dr. David Dubofsky. “It’s going to have the strange effect of taking away a large chunk of the used car market.”
Cae parts and used clothing aren’t the only goods selling well right now.
“Campbell’s soup is doing very well this year,” says Dubofsky. “Maybe one of the best-performing stocks on the entire market is Anheuser Busch, which make sense that people want relatively inexpensive sources of intoxication.”
Dubofsky says the shift in demand Campbells, Busch, Roppel and Moreland have seen is common in lean economic years…and a long recession will mean more people want more value out of what they already have.
But there is an upside.
“It’s quite possible that after 2 or 3 or 5 years of living leaner, maybe Americans will actually have learned to live leaner and save more and spend less,” says Dubofsky.
More savings means less borrowing, and too many people borrowing too much was one of the catalysts of the current financial meltdown.