Local thrift stores are busy, with proceeds going to the community

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 19 January 2020 at 10:25 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Ruth Hedges arranges merchandise in the newly expanded room of Hope Resales, the thrift shop she helped start at the Lyndonville United Methodist Church last March. The shop has become so successful they had to expand into another room in the basement of the church. Hedges said recent national surveys have shown more people are shopping in thrift stores.

Shoppers are setting a new trend in America, with more people buying at thrift stores.

A report by ThredUp said the resale market continues to grow at a rate expected to reach $51 billion by 2023. In fact the trend is becoming so popular, traditional department stores like Macy’s and JCPenney have started to team up with ThredUp to sell thrift finds in select stores.

Not only are they finding fine quality merchandise at drastically reduced prices, but the money spent at thrift stores usually goes to helping worthy causes in their communities.

Such is the case with the MAAC Thrift Depot in Medina, Community Action’s Main Street Store in Albion and Hope Resales in Lyndonville.

Annually, MAAC donates about $35,000 to local organizations such as Community Action, Vacation Bible School, Long Point Camp, Boy Scouts in Medina, Medina Police Department, Aglow, Orleans County Christian School, Hands 4 Hope, scholarships for Medina High School seniors, Oak Orchard Bike Rodeo, missions of local churches, fire victims, Tricounty Clergy Fellowship Workshop, Praising Kids Preschool, Senior Citizens of Western Orleans, Hospice, war orphans, GCASA roller skating, Christian Bowhunters, postage for Christmas Shoebox project, Medina National Honor Society veterans’ dinner, Orleans Recovery Hope, Parade of Lights, Veterans’ Christmas project, PACT, Empire State Special Olympics, MOPS, Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, Orleans County Summer Recreation Program, Camp Rainbow and National Night Out.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Community Action of Orleans & Genesee opened of the Main Street Thrift Store in October 2014 at the former American Legion at 131 South Main St.

The Main Street Store in Albion has targeted their profits for a job training program. Michelle George oversees the store at the former American Legion building. The store is a public resource for quality, gently pre-owned merchandise and apparel, and is a designated job skill training site for the community.

The profits from the store allow them to offer enrollment for “on the job” retail training, as well as partner with several local agencies for referrals. Store merchandise is donated and all proceeds from sales support employment services, including resumes, internet job searching, interview techniques, business and retail training and business communications. On completion of training, the store assists participants with job searches, work apparel (Dress for Success project) and references.

Hope Resales in Lyndonville has only been open about 10 months, yet sales have exceeded all expectations, said Ruth Hedges, one of the active volunteers who run the site.

Donations also have been so abundant the Lyndonville United Methodist Church has had to expand into another room in the basement.

During the past year, Hope Resales has given monetary donations not only to the church, but to Lyndonville Fire Department, Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern, Camp Rainbow, Lyndonville Food Pantry, Care Net of Orleans, Lockport Cares Homeless Shelter, Hospice of Orleans and to a young missionary who traveled to India. They also are sponsoring on a monthly basis a United Methodist minister and her family in Cuba.

Photo by Ginny Kropf: he MAAC Clothing Depot moved from a spot in the former Medina High School to the former Mic-Jac store at the corner of Starr and Orient streets in July 2018. The new home has more space to display and sell merchandise.

In addition, Hope Resales has been able to provide free clothing to several families in need, who have been referred to the store, Hedges said.

Hedges quoted a study by The Wall Street Journal, in which they reported more than half of respondents said they would consider gifting second-hand presents, while 56 percent said they would welcome thrifted gifts.

Whether it’s called a thrift shop, second-hand store or consignment shop, Hedges shared several reasons for shopping at a thrift store.

They include supporting a charitable cause, saving money, reducing waste and helping to save the environment, obtaining gently or never used items at a bargain, acquiring hard-to-find items one might only use occasionally, discovering a hidden treasure and buying something you forgot on vacation without paying full price.

Hope Resales is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. A new feature is offering one-half off select merchandise in the store on the last Wednesday of every month. Other sales can be found on their Facebook page during the month.

The MAAC Thrift Depot moved into new quarters in the summer of 2018. They are located at the corner of Orient and Starr streets. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to noon Monday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to noon and 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. The first Tuesday of each month is “one-half price day.”

Drop-off chutes for donations are located outside the building on Orient Street. MAAC accepts good, clean clothing; shoes and jewelry; clean household items in good condition, including small appliances and small furniture; books, toys and linens; DVDs and CDs; kitchen items and holiday decorations.

The Main Street Store is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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