A Langley thrift store that tried to introduce a sell-by-weight approach to bargain-hunting is closed and appears to have gone out of business.
The website for “Langley Clothes by the Pound” is offline, the Facebook pages have not been updated for several months, the phone number has been disconnected, and when a Times reporter visited the site, the entrance gate had been padlocked and work was underway to refit the building for film production, according to a worker who said the thrift store had closed.
Ron Barker, founder of the store, could not be reached for comment.
The retired business consultant set up “Langley Clothes by the Pound” inside a leased 13,000-square foot premises at 6011 196A St. in Langley City during the August long weekend.
The concept was modeled on other buy-by-weight thrift stores in Canada and the U.S. where buyers pay by the pound, whether they are buying generic jean jackets or Armani suits.
The Langley operation bought clothes and linens from other charities that operate donation drop boxes in the Lower Mainland, then sorted them into bins at the store.
Individuals and wholesalers were welcome to make purchases.
The plan was to have Clothes by the Pound use a portion of its revenue to support meal programs for students in the Langley and Surrey school districts.
But just two months after it launched, it ran into trouble.
Barker said the store was dangerously close to closing because of unexpected expenses and a slower-than-projected buildup of customers.
But following an emergency meeting with investors, a deal has been struck to keep the store in business.
Location of the store was also an issue.
It could not be located near any of the many other thrift stores in under Langley City regulations to restrict the proliferation of thrift stores and donation boxes in the downtown core.
The regulations did not affect the 18 existing thrift stores or the many donation bins already operating, but new thrift stores aren’t allowed within 400 metres of other second-hand shops and all new drop boxes are banned.
The Talize thrift store chain was allowed to open near two other thrift stores because it applied before the new regulations took effect.
The restrictions took effect Jan. 1, 2017.