By Maria Gregoriou
NOT only are second-hand shops always more popular to purchase from during a financial crisis but they are also seeing a huge increase in people selling items to raise cash.
According to those in the business, the upsurge in selling is due to two reasons – an increasing number of people leaving the island as well as those trying to scrape together a few extra euros.
“A lot of people are leaving the country and want to sell off everything in their homes. We go to their houses and collect the bulk of items. They receive a lump sum and we sell the objects in our warehouses,” said part owner of the Salvage Warehouse, Eleni Yennaris.
Yennaris and her husband opened the first Salvage Warehouse in Paphos about a year and a half ago after moving to Cyprus from South Africa, and a second one in Limassol about a month ago.
She said if people call up or send her an email saying they want to sell some items, she or her husband will go and see if they are in good condition.
“If they are of a good quality, then we will buy them and take them to our shops to sell,” Yennaris said.
All furniture and appliances for sale are also listed on the company’s website and Facebook page.
When asked about the shop’s clientele, Yennaris said that she did have Cypriot customers but most Cypriots would still not buy something if they know it is second hand.
“They might pass by and come in because they saw something interesting but when they find out the items are not brand new, they lose interest,” she added.
Most people buy items for their homes and try to haggle on prices due to the drop in market prices.
“Prices have dropped from last year for new items so that has forced us to also lower ours but still people will say for example, that they can buy a new leather sofa for €400 so why should they pay the same money for an old one,” Yennaris said.
Alexis Nassar, owner of the Best Bargains Second Hand Shop in Limassol, which opened six years ago echoed the comments made by Yennaris.
“Because of the crisis people do their market research before actually buying something. They do not just see something they like and get it, they have to compare prices beforehand,” Nassar said.
Due to this shift in shopping mentality, Nassar has also had to lower his prices.
He said that because it was not good for business to have stock piling up, he sometimes has to sell items at a loss.
Nassar buys things for his shop online and also by travelling.
“I go where ever I find good deals but the internet has made it much easier for me to find sellable items and arrange for them to be shipped to me,” Nassar said.
The second-hand market has only recently been discovered by Cypriots according to Nassar.
“Their mind-set is still stuck on new products but I have seen a slight shift lately,” he said.
In Nicosia the picture seems to change depending on the location of a second-hand shop.
Katerina, the owner of the Second Hand Shop on Nicosia’s Arsinois Street, said that most of her customers were from other countries, while the second-shop her husband runs in Ayios Dhometios has some Cypriot clients.
“A lot of second hand shops are opening up lately but still I think they are perceived very differently here than in the UK or other European countries,” Katerina said.
This could also be because the shop down town, which opened a year ago, is very small and sells mostly clothes and small items, while the one in Ayios Dhometios has more furniture.
“I would say that one third of our customers are Cypriots. We also have many treasure hunters who come by and are looking for something unique,” Katerina added.
The couple used to buy products from the internet to sell on but now they have no need to do so as many people in Cyprus are selling their old items.
“People now sell things to get extra cash and I always have to compare the products that are coming in with the products already on the market so I can estimate the price I will sell it for,” she said.