Winmark Leads the Way in Reselling and Sustainability

Winmark Corporation Resale Franchise

Resale Franchises Appeal to Budget- and Eco-Minded Shoppers

For nearly 35 years, Winmark – The Resale Company® has helped customers keep money in their pockets while diverting clothing, baby equipment, books, toys, musical instruments and sporting goods away from landfills. Today, as more and more consumers consider sustainability with each purchase, there is greater incentive for them to shop at Winmark’s five resale franchises: Plato’s Closet®Once Upon A Child®Style Encore®, Music Go Round® and Play It Again Sports®

Interior of a Winmark Corporation Resale Franchise business location
In 2021, Winmark’s resale franchises purchased and recycled more than 158 million of clothing, toys, books, musical instruments and sports equipment.

Impacts of Eco-Friendly Resale Franchises

Winmark Corporation makes an important dent in the 254 million tons of waste generated by Americans each year. About 80 tons of that total is composed of discarded clothing, and Plato’s Closet and Style Encore franchisees buy and resell some 58 million garments per year. Following are some further statistics about how reselling can and does make an impact on the environment:

  •  Last year Once Upon A Child, Plato’s Closet, Style Encore, Play It Again Sports and Music Go Round purchased and recycled more than 158 million items. That total includes toys, books, musical instruments, sports equipment and garments.
  •  60% of five fast-fashion garments wind up in landfills, which means the fashion industry is responsible for 8% of carbon emissions. As the number of resellers increases, that number will decline. 
  • Consumers who buy from resellers can reduce their personal carbon footprints by 82%. 
  • 64% of consumers say they’re open to buying secondhand goods to save the planet as well as money.
  • The process of shipping retail items accounts for about 17% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Resale franchises trim or eliminate harmful air pollutants that would be generated by transportation.

Appealing to the Green Customer

Exterior of a Music Go Round franchise business location
At Music Go Round, musicians can buy and sell high-quality, used equipment and gear.

Customers are attracted by more than eco-friendly practices at Winmark’s resale shops. They shop again and again because of the pleasant environment. Each location is well-lighted, clean and welcoming. The merchandise in pristine condition still has a long, functional life ahead and is attractively displayed, well-organized and easy to examine. Sales staff are informed and helpful.

North American consumers benefit financially from Winmark reseller franchises in two ways. First, there are people who supply gently used items for resale, making money from items they might otherwise put out for trash pickup. And then there are shoppers who are thrilled to pay less than full retail while feeling virtuous about Winmark’s sustainable approach to its merchandise.

Renae Gaudette, president of Franchising at Winmark Corporation, says the recession-resistant resale industry is currently thriving and predicts steady growth in the future. “Our impact will only strengthen as we aim to further our position as the industry leader in resale and sustainability,” Gaudette says. “Our brands are the leaders in the resale space, and our franchisee partners are executing at a high level. Our goal is to find more franchise partners for more than 2,800 territories so that every community has the opportunity to benefit from our brands.” 

Winmark’s Rapid Growth

Exterior of a Once Upon a Child franchise business location
Once Upon a Child customers can buy and sell gently-used children’s apparel, toys, shoes, equipment and accessories for infants through tweens.

Minneapolis-based Winmark currently has more than 1,270 franchises in operation across North America. The umbrella franchisor, then known as Grow Biz, began in 1988 with Play It Again Sports. The corporation purchased Once Upon A Child in 1992 and Music Go Round in 1993. 

By the time the franchisor turned 6 years old, it was named Fortune and Inc. magazines’ fastest-growing public company, and shortly thereafter acquired Plato’s Closet. Entrepreneur magazine has ranked Plato’s Closet No. 1 in its category in the publication’s Franchise 500; the brand has been on that list for more than 10 years.

The Winmark name was born in 2001, and in 2007, the multi-brand franchisor reached $500 million in sales. In 2013, the corporation launched Style Encore, and in that same year, it achieved the 1,000-franchise milestone. 

Support for Winmark Franchisees

The corporate team at Winmark supports its franchisees at every point in their entrepreneurial journeys, starting with their business plans. From there, the franchisor assists with site selection, store design and layout, inventory management, proprietary computer software, and professional marketing materials. 

To continue its dominance within the reselling market, Winmark franchisees are able to sell via an e-commerce system and on social media as well as in their brick-and-mortar stores. These sales channels have proved to be crucial during the two-plus years (and counting) of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

How Winmark Gives Back

Exterior of a Play It Again Sports franchise business location
At Play It Again Sports, customers can buy and sell used sports gear and fitness equipment.

Winmark – the Resale Company and its five resale franchises have some high-profile partnerships for giving back. Winmark is the Official Resale Partner of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team and its Kings Care Foundation. Focusing on the growth of hockey as a sport and supporting access to hockey and other sports for under-served youth, this partnership also supports local families and communities through a concentration on sustainability, advocacy and inclusion. 

Winmark also is the Official Resale Partner of USA Hockey, and Winmark and Play It Again Sports are partnering with Blake Bolden, a trailblazer in women’s hockey, who has a mentorship program for women and girls. Another professional-athlete partner is PGA pro Tom Hoge, who was once a shopper at the Fargo, N.D., Play It Again Sports store. 

Winmark is seeking franchisees in markets across North America. All five of its brands appeal to budget-and eco-minded consumers who like to shop locally. For more information about franchises, visit or call 855-249-6370.  

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Jill Abrahamsen’s career spans more than 25 years in editorial, design, and marketing roles. As the editorial director of IFPG, she serves as editor-in-chief of Franchise Consultant Magazine and FranchiseWire. Through both platforms, Jill helps franchisors spread the word about their brands and reports on the latest franchise news and trends. A skilled storyteller, Jill communicates franchisor’s messages through feature articles and franchisee interviews.

Jill is an accomplished writer, editor and graphic designer. Her extensive experience includes key roles with major consumer publications, including Boating, Popular Photography, and Design NJ magazines. As founding editor-in-chief of Franchise Dictionary magazine, Jill developed her passion and fascination for franchising which continues to grow in her role at IFPG.
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