When you walk into Hut no. 8, you could be in any mall clothing store. Until you look at the price tags. Instead of selling for $20, an Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt is marked at $4 or $5. Designer jeans – some of them new – go for $50 or less.
This is the new, used clothing store.
No digging through racks to find the top brands. They’re all here, neatly arranged by size and color. Jeans are hung diagonally, instead of folded, so that you can easily spot both your size and the designer label.
“That’s the main thing we’re going for, is to have the resale and offer people good prices, but not have that used feel to it,” said Chris Lee, one of the owners.
The clothes aren’t sold on consignment, but rather, are bought outright. The store pays cash for high-end labels, Lee said.
Their target customers are teens and young adults in their 20s, with prices typically ranging from $4 to $50. And the store offers racks of jeans – something they know young people want. On Wednesday, a new pair of women’s Lucky Brand jeans showed the original price tag of $115. They are now selling for $30. There were also clothes by Hollister, DKNY, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger and Lucky Brand.
Located in the Silos shopping center on Crabapple Road, Hut no. 8 opened Sept. 20. With hardwood floors, exposed beams and posters of models on the walls, it looks much more like a mall store than a thrift shop.
That’s the idea.
According to Hut no. 8’s website, big box retailers like Old Navy and Gap do a great job of marketing their brand, but they generally choose expensive locations like shopping malls, which means their price tags are high in orer to pay the rent. They don't do as well in a bad economy. And the high cost of those locations rules out space for smaller stores. Hut no. 8 opens nice stores at a lesser cost. They keep their prices low “by constantly turning over and rotating our inventory with the use of customer buy-backs and high-volume vendors.”
Taya J. Sundling-Peek and her husband, Isrel Peek, liked this concept and opened the store as a franchise. They were looking for a business to start and Sundling-Peek was already “an avid shopper” for herself and her two children, combing thrift stores. After meeting with the owner of Hut no. 8, they were sold.
“I have a love for clothing and I have a love for good deals,” Sundling-Peek told Patch, adding, “We just thought it was a good idea.”
Lee, who recently graduated from Kennesaw State University with a degree in finance and economics, joined the Peeks.
Hut no. 8 started in Florida in 2008, by the same people who started Goin’ Postal, a shipping store franchise that has 300 stores nationwide and has been named by Entrepreneur Magazine as a leader in its industry.
“When you walk through the doors in one of our stores, the high energy music and rustic beach hut atmosphere create the feel of a mini vacation getaway. Our high quality new & gently loved products enable our customers to wear only the best at 70 - 80 percent off mall prices, while shopping in a mall-like environment,” the company’s website reads.
There are now 22 franchises across the U.S. and four of them are in Georgia. Besides this location, on the Roswell/Alpharetta line, there are stores in Marietta, Newnan and Suwanee, with another franchise coming soon to Atlanta, all according to the company’s website.
On Wednesday morning, customers came into the store in a fairly steady stream.
Two women said they didn’t know the store sold used clothing, but decided to stop in after leaving the fitness center next door.
“We came out from the gym and saw the sign and it intrigued us,” said Lynn Dukat of Roswell, holding up a skirt she was planning to buy.
Another woman came in and gushed, “What a cool remodel!” She asked for boys’ sizes, but the store only sells clothing for adults. She decided to look at the women’s clothing instead. “It’s more high school, college, right?” she asked.
Lee explained that they also have brands older women tend to like, such as Ann Taylor, but the clothes are generally geared to people younger than 30.
“Oh, 30, that’s really old,” the woman joked.
Hut no. 8 is located in the Silos shopping center at 12315 Crabapple Road in Alpharetta. The store is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. You can reach them at 770-475-6900.