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.