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Recycling meets retail in unique store concept
16
Apr '09
While many companies have recently jumped on the eco-friendly bandwagon, there is one organization that recognized the power of going green long before it was trendy to do so. Back in 1983, Winmark Corporation and its franchisees began recycling merchandise by collecting high-quality used goods and selling them alongside new products in traditional store formats. Today, the company is celebrating Earth Day and the continued success of its unique retail franchises.

In 2008 alone, Winmark's Once Upon a Child stores recycled over 31.8 million items back into the community. This resulted in over $125 million in sales of used merchandise for the 230-store chain. Winmark's other brands impacted the environment as well. Plato's Closet recycled more than $165 million in teen apparel and Play It Again Sports put more than $60 million of gently used sports gear back into their communities.

"People tend to accumulate a lot of possessions, but when needs change and they outgrow their belongings, the first thought for many is to throw the items away," said Steve Murphy, president of franchising for Winmark Corporation. "By giving people the opportunity to sell or trade their high-quality used goods, the Winmark brands facilitate recycling and keep products from unnecessarily filling up landfills."

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency's most recent study, Americans generated 254 million tons of trash in 2007, consisting of materials such as glass, metals, plastics, textiles and wood. Of this waste, 85 million tons were either recycled or composted, indicating that while strides are being made to lessen the toll on the environment, there is still much room to improve the recycling rate.

Featuring a wide range of products, Winmark brands cater to a variety of people and recreational needs: Play It Again Sports focuses on sporting goods, Once Upon a Child covers children's clothing and merchandise, Plato's Closet addresses teen and young adult clothing and accessories, and Music Go Round's focus is musical instruments and equipment.

Winmark Corporation

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