Sue’s Little shop memories and Big shop excitement!

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.


7 thoughts on “Sue’s Little shop memories and Big shop excitement!

  1. Great little piece Sue. Leann will bawl and you and Mary should be so proud of what you have attained and how far you have taken us. Without your leadership and direction I do not think we would be here!
    Chris XXOO


  2. Oh Sue and Mary! I will certainly miss our old store. We DID have great fun there. And I loved every minute of it! Looking forward to the new adventure! With much much love, Lisa



  3. Sue, I chuckled during you reflection of the storage issues at the old shop. I grieve the closing of the former location but I strongly rejoice at the new building and location. The space, the overall plan and layout will allow you to serve the community better “Providing quality used items at a reasonable prices”. A huge thank you to both Sue and Mary for their leadership, their creativity and their guidance at the “old shop” and for their vision and planning with the “new shop”. The shop does have a “spirit” of giving, caring and love. It can only grow stronger in the new shop! Thank you, you are the best! Leanne


  4. Wonderful memories of our “little shop West of town”!! Now ready to make new memories in our “big shop East of town”!


  5. What a nice memory of our early shop. We did have our funny moments with our lack of room. And as a volunteer since the start we look forward to our new surroundings. Thanks Sue and Mary for all your hard work and creative ideas. And for being an extended family for many of us in the shop.


  6. Nicely said Sue. I wasn’t there when it all began but have seen over the past year and a half how much work goes in to keeping the shop running smoothly. I’m looking forward to being in the new shop!


  7. I don’t think I’ve had to say “excuse me” once for bumping into anyone in the huge work room area! What an enjoyable space you and Mary have created. The huge amount of planning and resources you have tapped seemed to have resolved most of the problems with our “outgrown” shop. Thanks so much. Chris P


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