A few years ago, opening a Goodwill store here wouldn't have made sense. Paramus is one of the biggest ZIP codes in the country for retail sales. Shoppers have their pick of hundreds of respected names like Macy's and Lord &Taylor along this busy highway strip.
But in the wake of the Great Recession, the stigma attached to certain consumer behavior has fallen away. What some people once thought of as lowbrow, they now accept -- even consider a frugal badge of honor.
EDITOR'S NOTE -- The Great Recession has been over for nearly a year and a half, and the economy is slowly growing again. But many of the drastic changes that Americans made in how they spend money have endured -- and may be here to stay, some economists think. In a three-part series, The Associated Press examines the state of the American consumer.
And it's not just about Goodwill. Americans, even those with jobs, are shopping for brands, buying at stores and eating at restaurants that they shunned before because they are trying to get more for their money.
At the supermarket, shoppers are buying more store-labeled products, like no-name detergents and cereal, and not returning to national brands. (more)