South Whidbey Record


Community Thrift store opens Freeland lot to vendors

South Whidbey Record General assignment
August 22, 2013 · Updated 2:44 PM

Volunteers Ellie Maloney and Mary Pat Stone sort housewares at Senior Services Community Thrift Store. / Celeste Erickson / The Record

Thrift store shopping is as much about the hunt as it is about the find.

At Senior Services Community Thrift Store, the hunt will be more fruitful during their third “Clean Sweep Parking Lot Sale” in Freeland this weekend.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at 5518 Woodard Ave.

The sale includes individual vendors from around the area who are looking to sell some of their belongings. Vendors can make a donation to the store for the space and are able to keep their profits.

“The community is good to us, we want to give back to them,” said Brandy Grimes, the organization’s sorting room lead.

This is the third event and the second year the store has put on the sale.

The parking lot bazaar started as a concept to help the community, said Tandi Roberts, manager of the Freeland store. To remove the headache of putting on a garage sale, the organization decided to tap the public’s help while utilizing the space, she said.

The last sale in July had ten vendors. Roberts said she would like to see the event grow with more people getting involved - customers and volunteers.

“We want to help the community be successful,” she said.

So far the store has scheduled nine vendors, but has the capacity for 24 in the parking lot.

“It’s not about money, it’s about the service,” Roberts said.

Roberts hopes the vendors are successful in their sales and customers who come find the treasure they are looking for — it’s a hunt after all.

Receiving all the donations is like Christmas every day, Grimes said. “You never know what you’re going to get.” Celeste Erickson / The Record Tandi Roberts, manager at Senior Services Community Thrift Store, and volunteer Nicole Russeff sort books at the store on Monday.

The sale will also include deals on summer clothes and back-to-school items, including a back-to-school jeans exchange at the thrift store.

Grimes is hoping for more younger customers, as the store often carries brand names, from Steve Madden to Jessica Simpson.

“We have something for everyone,” she said.

Roberts said she wanted to show the store is a service to the community. “We’re doing our part by providing the space for the community,” Roberts said.

Proceeds from the thrift store go to Senior Services of Island County, a nonprofit that provides information and assistance. Sales revenue helps with programs such as adult day services, volunteer service programs and Meals on Wheels.

Last month, the store had 5,444 paying customers and 2,101 people donated items. The heart of the operation, though, is the volunteers.

During July alone, the store’s 35 volunteers — 25 are regulars — donated a whopping 1,208 hours of their time.

“We wouldn’t be anywhere without the help of our volunteers,” Roberts said.

Jim Cloore, board member of Senior Services of Island County, said he can’t stress enough what the thrift store means to Senior Services of Island County.

“They are like the football team to a major university,” Roberts said. “They are that important to running and maintaining the programs for seniors.”

“We hope that no one needs Senior Services, but we’re here for those that do,” Roberts said.


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