Tis’ the season for ugly sweaters -- and those tacky threads are money makers for small businesses.
Iowa thrift store owner Cheryl Gleason says she collects ugly sweaters all year long for her shop, and it pays off on the bottom line.
"It's probably about 40% of our sales, the sweaters and the clothing. The more gaudy, the more things on them, I mean the more stuff on the sweater, the better,” says Gleason.
Gleason’s shop, Random Goods, is located in the college town of Ames, Iowa. She says a majority of her customers are students who want to look as ridiculous as possible. Gleason hopes her large stock of tacky sweaters will also bring in local residents.
“Depending on the person walking in here, people like some of these sweaters. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder I guess,” says Gleason. She says it’s all about being fun and “over-the-top.”
Another thrift store in Des Moines, Iowa is also using “ugly” sweaters to bring in business. Todd Vonstein, the manager of Metro N Retro, says he showcases the sweaters throughout the store to encourage customers to walk around.
"First off, we want to have fun with it. Second of all, we're hoping people can come in and enjoy the store. It brings in a demographic that would enjoy what we have to offer here,” says Vonstein.
Vonstein says the sweaters are a big draw during the holiday season. He said the Facebook page for the store “blew-up” as soon as they posted photos of the ugly sweaters and they began to see new customers.
"It adds to our fun, it adds to our traffic, and it will help our bottom-line,” says Vonstein.
James Goetz works at Metro N Retro and helps customers pick out their perfect tacky sweater. He says many people see the old sweaters and it brings back memories for them.
"I think it puts a spark and a lot of fun back in the holidays. It’s great for business, great for business for sure,” says Goetz.
Lauren Blanchard is a graduate of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. She is now a multi-platform journalist and occasional general assignment news reporter. Follow her on Twitter: @LaurenBlanch12