Shelves and racks are filling up and we are getting comfortable in our new surroundings. Most staff members like to take a stroll through the shop each time they come in to work, just to see what is new or has changed. They say…”it looks like we are ready to open”. And we say…”well………we are getting closer”!
Last week we fixed our attention on housewares. Pricing and filling the displays. This week it is clothing. We are sorting, de-wrinkling, pricing and stocking our racks. On the back end, we are working on setting up our donation receiving area which will be a trial and error situation for a while. Next week, we will tweak and clean….put on the finishing touches and then be ready to open on Sunday, March 1.
I am hoping a large part of our team of 60 (plus) volunteers will be in attendance at our opening celebration. We expect a very large customer response and would like to share their excitement with our staff members. I think it will be one of those things that “you just had to be there” to get the total picture of how people will respond to our new atmosphere.
Only 10 days away! **** Opening Celebration **** Sunday, March 1 **** 12 noon to 5 p.m.
Thought I would give you a little recap……
The first couple of weeks of 2015 was a busy time for the thrift shop. We had dedicated people working on both ends.
At the old shop we broke down and moved pallet racks, shelving, and toy cubbies. The staff kept the place running and managed to keep the shop looking “ok” even with the missing shelving. They set up a huge book sale to so we would not have to move them to the new place. The work area was a “destruction zone” without the racks for organization. Our people took charge and were able to clean, price and pack merchandise into a large trailer to await transport to the new shop.
Between December 26 and January 6 the new place was a flurry of activity. We began the transformation of our new surroundings the day after Christmas. Our hard working crew made over the warehouse area of the old Gene Moon building.
10 foot tall shelving was assembled and installed to divide the warehouse allowing a portion of it to be used for retail. Sheets of OSB board was painted and attached to one side of the shelving to create a wall. The guys were extremely patient as the shelves first faced one way and then the other. Then the whole wall was adjusted a couple of feet to the left, then a few inches to the right, then back and forth until it was just right!
Everyone pitched in when the white paint seemed a bit blah, we repainted everything to give the space a more comfortable homey feel. All of the newly built walls were trimmed out and this really did finish the area.
We worked around tons of dusty, dirty construction and water plant stuff and had to shift it here and there as we progressed through the renovation. The floors were scrubbed. The remaining walls were painted.
Assorted items were cleaned, repaired, and cobbled. They were then set up so this newly formed area could be divided to create our “rooms” where we will sell the appropriate merchandise. We have a living room, bedroom, office area, kitchen, garage, toy and craft spot. All of this space had previously been an open warehouse.
In the clothing areas of the shop, other projects were completed including custom shoe shelves and child play area. A beautiful checkout counter was made from two very large shelf units. Display pieces were fashioned from items that we had used at our old shop or were in our storage. Clothing floor racks were moved into the shop and the wall rack system was installed.
The work room was set up with 3 sets of double tables for our staff to finally be able to spread out as they process merchandise. Slat wall was put up and shelving was brought in for sorting and storing. Tons of “stuff” has been moved from the old place and is now sorted and placed in a convenient location.
In 12 days time, all of this was completed, the old shop was still open and many other tasks were accomplished.
Then our very first trailer load of items were delivered on January 6. We all celebrated because now the move was really happening. It was a wonderful feeling, but best of all was the bond that was created between all of the people who were involved. It was a flurry of activity in a very short time frame, it was bone breaking, dirty work, but our “work team” at both locations bonded while forming good memories and a new appreciation for each other as we completed each task together.
Now our old place is closed and our wonderful staff is working hard at our new shop putting on the finishing touches and filling all racks and shelves so we will be ready to open our doors on March 1st.
Don’t forget! Sunday, March 1st, 12 noon to 5 p.m.
Opening Celebration to include…the best buys on earth! We also have someone planning music, door prizes, silent auction, food and beverage! You don’t want to miss it!
In 2009, I was a member of the committee that was planning the Community Thrift Shop and I remember my very first walk through of the location west of Paw Paw. The building was empty except for insulation, construction tools and supplies covering the floor. It was small but had a certain quaint feel to it…and felt right that our new little thrift store would fit nicely between the walls….And it did fit nicely……for a very short while!
Right from day one, we were blessed with donations. So many donations that our shop quickly filled to the brim and we could not sell the items as rapidly as they were flowing in. We did not have any room to work because of the donations piled to the ceiling, so we rented a small storage area just to hold a little furniture. We filled it and rented a second small storage area and then needed a third. We packed those too.
Donations continued to flow in so we decided that we needed to look into renting a semi trailer to park on our lot. This certainly would be enough storage. Right? Nope…..we quickly crammed full the 40 foot long trailer and rented another one….and another one……
We let one of our smaller rental buildings go and put everything into one large rental building. Now our total storage was at three 40 foot long trailers and one double garage sized building….
We still did not have room for everything and added a tent to put up in the summer for working under. We rented a 20 foot trailer to use with it as a side and also as donation storage. Guess what! They overflowed quite quickly!
All of these storage areas and a shop that was full to the brim was very often a challenge to be sure. But I do believe that the lack of storage and cramped work space made us really think about what was important. We kept things pretty organized and for the most part were able to find whatever it was that we were looking for.
The challenges that the lack of space created was often extremely difficult for me as a manager, but our volunteer staff never complained. They worked through the piles of clothing, toys, house wares, books, and everything else. Always smiling. I don’t believe that I ever heard one of them say they could not or would not work on whatever the current task was. They trudged through the donations in extremely hot and cold weather. Keeping our little shop going in very difficult working conditions.
So it is for them that I am most excited to be moving into our new shop. I thank the Tapper family for all that they have done to create a brighter and better work space for our volunteer help
Our shoppers will benefit as well in our wonderful well lit retail area. Our sales floor will contain more men’s wear, furniture, house wares and we will be adding children’s clothing. We will be offering more shopping hours as we will be open on Mondays.
For me, today is bittersweet….as I say goodbye to the old store and look forward to the new….I will always hold the memories of our little shop close, but am eager to begin working in our new location.
Mark your calendars!
One month from today we will open for business and hold an opening celebration.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
12 noon to 5 p.m.
Community Thrift Shop
1000 East Michigan, Paw Paw
Hours beginning on March 2, 2015:
Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
We are moving…..but not far!
This week (January 20 – 24) 50% off everything in the shop!
Next week (January 27 – 30) 75% off all remaining items.
Saturday, January 31 is a FREE day! Stop in and help us move what is left! NO Charge!
We will be closed and will not be accepting donations during the month of February to prepare our new location.
Our new address will be: 1000 East Michigan Avenue, Paw Paw, MI 49079 ( Near the Dollar General)
We will be open for business and hope that you will be able to join us for our opening celebration on Sunday, March 1, 2015…..12 noon to 5 p.m.
Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 1 to come shop at our bigger and better location!
We are busily getting ready for our move to a larger building and where we will be adding tons of clothing to our sales floor!
We are in need of commercial style hangers….clear plastic with the swivel wire top…
We need shirt and pant hangers in both adult and child sizes
If you have some that you would like to recycle, please give us a call!
We have a huge overstock of books!
And we don’t want to move them again!
Buy More – Get More Sale!
Paperbacks – .50
Hardcovers – 1.00
Coffee Table Books, Cook books, Vintage/Antique Books as priced
Purchase 3 = 30% off
Purchase 4 = 40% off
Purchase 5 or more = 50% off
Sale runs through Saturday 17