Main Street Thrift Store in Albion looks to rebound from Covid pandemic

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 April 2022 at 9:08 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Teri Lester, left, and Kathy Alexander move a wardrobe into a display on the floor of the Main Street Store. The store has a large variety of furniture at very reasonable prices.

ALBION – The Main Street Thrift Store, like many others, is struggling because of Covid, said Renee Hungerford, director of Community Action of Orleans and Genesee.

The store offers employment services, on-the-job training and post-employment support to local residents. Proceeds from the store make these services possible.

Hungerford and Katrina Chaffee, director of community services for Community Action, met last week with employees and volunteers at the store to promote community support and remind the public of the great service this store provides.

The store, which opened in 2014, is managed by Michelle George. Other employees are Teri Lester, Kathy Alexander and Cassie Eagle, who is classroom instructor and in training for store manager. John Heschke is a volunteer who performs a variety of duties.

The store has embarked on a campaign to thank the community for its support and encourage shoppers to check out the Main Street Thrift Store. For the first time, the store has posted coupons online, in addition to the daily specials on select items in the store.

“When everyone else’s prices are going up, ours are going down,” George said.

They are also running an employee contest, in which employees get a supply of tickets to hand out to family and friends. The who has the most tickets returned will win a $100 gift card to Home Depot.

This year, the store participated in Albion’s Sip and Stroll, with food samples, wine tasting and live music.

Staff and volunteers of the Main Street Store sit on several sofas which are for sale at the store, which is offering coupons to get people back into the store, after the slowdown caused by Covid. From left are John Heschke, volunteer; Teri Lester, Kathy Alexander, Michelle George and Cassie Eagle, staff; Renee Hungerford, director of Community Action; and Katrina Chaffee, director of community services and reporting.

George calls the Main Street Thrift Store the area’s “Best kept secret.”

They offer men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, shoes, handbags, jewelry, household goods, small appliances, electronics, collectibles, books and games and furniture, even a violin, among other things. A year-round holiday room is very popular, George said.

An important part of their success is donations from the community – of gently loved household items and clothing. They offer pick-up for large furniture items. Cash or credit card donations are accepted at the store on Just Giving at The Main Street Store should be indicated in the message of support.

Volunteers are also welcome to decorate displays and work at the cash register. There is also an opportunity for people to create e-bay listings for the store.

George also explained the important service the store provides to Albion Central School students. The store contracts with the school to provide one-on-one tutoring for credit recovery. Students come to the store one day a week for instruction by Eagle. Sessions are also attended by Eagle’s dog Aggie. Eagle said they found the dog had a calming effect on students.

The Main Street Thrift Store is open from 10:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Information is available on their Facebook page at Mainstreetthriftstore.albion.