Second Chance Thrift Store opens
The First United Methodist Church is offering a new thrift store opportunity for area residents.
Second Chance Thrift Store, housed in the basement of the church at 600 E. Hammond St., opened from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 11. Volunteer Holly Paulson said the idea to form the store came about after positive response to a recent garage sale the church held in September.
“It had been four or five years since we’d last had a garage sale, and we had so much stuff donated we wondered if there was a need for a thrift store. We got to talking about things, and discovered the nearest place to buy thrift items or donate them was roughly a half hour away. Myself and the other volunteers felt that if we’re going to be good stewards of the Earth, we shouldn’t keep buying things and throwing them away, we should re-use them,” Paulson said. “At the garage sale, we asked the customers, if we had a thrift store, if they would be interested in shopping in it, and the response was an enthusiastic yes. We got three pages of people’s names and email addresses all in favor of the store, and many of them have told us in the wake of the opening announcement that they have things to donate or wish to volunteer. The response has been even better than expected.”
Pastor Jenn Van Nostrand said when Paulson broached the idea to her, she was beyond excited and loved the idea.
“Holly’s excitement is contagious. She has wonderful and spectacular ideas. It fits with the mission of the church, which is to be witnesses outside the church. This matches the outreach and mission of open doors, open hearts, open minds, and opening up this opportunity to give to the community to help those that are in need, and give a place for people who have extra things to donate. Not only does it fit with the mission of the church, it’s an obvious need that we are filling. The response was so favorable after the garage sale that it felt we were definitely filling a need in our community. There’s definitely a lack of places to shop for clothes in the community, because there’s no retail stores,” advised Van Nostrand.
When deciding on a location, Paulson said the basement of the church was the logical location.
“We had the garage sale in the space which we often use for our fellowship hall. The space we’re using now, we used in the past for our youth programs. We asked the youth coordinator to take over the space for a few months to see if there’s interest, and if there is, we’ll keep it here in this location,” Paulson stated. “There’s no overhead here, all of our inventory is donated and the staff is volunteers. Also, this is a pretty big building so people will know where to find it. If it becomes permanent, the youth program can be moved to a different location.”
The first Monday of every month the church hosts the WIC program, and Paulson felt it was a natural transition after offering that assistance, to offer more.
As for donated items, Paulson said there are a few things they are looking for, and things they can’t take.
“Right now, we’re especially looking for kids’ clothes and toys, especially since we’re approaching the holiday season. We take most anything, including furniture, clothing, kitchen items, sports equipment, books, movies, CDs, appliances, and shoes. We can’t take anything that isn’t functional, nor can we accept firearms or alcohol, or anything like pets,” Paulson explained.
Paulson said there are a few items they’re looking for beyond item donations to help with the space.
“We’d love to have some clothing racks and shelving. We’re going to reach out to some places to see if they’ve updated their equipment or no longer have a use for it,” Paulson said.
In addition to the thrift store, the church will also have a coffee shop set up next door with hot drinks and food.
“People came early for the garage sale, and now that it’s getting colder, we don’t want them to wait outside. We’re going to open a coffee shop in our fellowship hall, and Nanny Crowe wlll bake her delicacies and we’ll have coffee available with flavored syrups. People can come and relax, or take a break from shopping,” Paulson stated.
With the items for the thrift store being donated, the payment option for items in the store will also be on a donation basis.
“We settled on this process at the garage sale. I moved here from Phoenix, Ariz., a while back, and I discovered this was a normal process. After the garage sale was over, we were blown away with the generosity of people, not only the donations, but their contributions when they came back and bought. The people that can give, will give more, and balance out for the people that are in need of our items but can’t pay as much,” Paulson commented.
Van Nostrand added there will be no critiques when people select their items and come to pay.
“There’s no judgment. We don’t even handle the money. Whatever they pay, they drop in the jar. There’s no judgment whatsoever,” said Van Nostrand.
As they’ve put the thrift store together, Paulson said the thing she’s most enjoyed so far is the interaction with the people.
“Thrifters are amazing people, and this has been so much fun. At the garage sale for example, we had people who used to attend here and drifted away, we had people in the community that had not been here, and we had people from out of town saying they were going to come back. It was like Old Home Week, whether we knew them or not. A lot of friendships were developed over those sale days, and interacting with the community is the thing we’re most excited and anxious about. Community is one of our main priorities, and making a difference in our community. It’s all coming together,” Paulson advised. “Not everyone can come here on Sunday mornings, so this will be an added opportunity to meet people.”
Van Nostrand, like Paulson, agreed she was looking forward to building further relationships and growing.
“We want to get out there and get messy with the people. We want to be involved in their lives, be able to pray for them, help them if there’s a need, and be able to have those relationships. This is a way to build that community and show Jesus’ love through us for the community and for people,” Van Nostrand commented.
The store will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Friday for donations, and open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m every Saturday for shopping. The coffee shop will also be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m Saturday, but there’s room to grow.
“At some point, it would be great to expand our operation hours. Hopefully we can expand that so more people can come here. We are also open by appointment for donations, they need to simply call the church office at 623-2367. We also may be able to open for shopping by appointment, such as if they are a visitor leaving town before our regular hours, or if they have an urgent need for something, such as clothing for a special event, we are very flexible,” stated Paulson. “Our ultimate hope for the future is to keep expanding and growing. The more people we can help, the more we’ll enjoy it.”
Another feature of the store is the Be an Angel, Buy an Angel ornament that can be put on the Christmas tree.
“For $1, they can buy an angel and put it on the tree. At the end of the promotion, we will divide everything that’s donated and share it with families that have a little extra need during the holidays. We have forms, and anyone can fill out a form to suggest a family, or they can suggest themselves. The amount we can give will depend on the amount we get,” Paulson advised.
Also, while the store will be opening with a solid base of volunteers, any help offered will be accepted.
“We would love volunteers to help us. Some of the garage sale volunteers, agreed to help, and we would love to have the additional help of anyone that is interested in thrifting. We would also welcome volunteers who wish to help out with the coffee shop,” Paulson said.
Information about the thrift store will be posted to the church’s facebook page, facebook.com/redoakfumc.