Resale shops not frugal on friendship
Thrift store employees say they share camaraderie
July 11, 2008
Craig — Craig resident Rick Jones drifted amid a wilderness of packed clothes racks at the Community Budget Center on Thursday morning.
He held a glass canning jar and a small picture of a tropical island adrift in sparkling blue water as he moved leisurely around shelves and racks of pre-owned wares.
“I kind of browse,” he said.
He’ll hang the picture on his wall, he said, to conjure images of warmer climates.
“Especially in January,” he said. “I can look at that and it will warm the place.”
And the jar?
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“Everybody’s got to have a jar,” he said, laughing.
Employees moved around the Budget Center as Jones shopped, disappearing then re-emerging from behind shelves and racks much like the customers themselves.
Mary Willson, who has worked at the nonprofit organization for about two and a half years, was one of them.
During that time, she said, she’s seen a wide assortment of items sold in the store, including clothes, dishes and furniture.
“Pretty much everything goes,” she said.
A set of gold teeth took the title of most unusual item sold in the store for Willson and her co-workers.
A broad collection of more commonplace items fills the store. On a far wall, pairs of black rubber galoshes stood at attention on a high shelf while assorted porcelain and glass bowls and vases graced a glass counter nearby.
Camaraderie runs high among the store’s workers, said Karen Brown, Community Budget Center office manager.
“We’re all on the same mission,” she said. “It’s like treasure hunting every day.”
Similar sentiments were evident at a similar store on Craig’s west end.
Dorothy Wyman waved a hand to indicate the women working around her in Thrift Shop, a business she’s owned for nearly two decades.
“We are very much like a family,” she said. “If I didn’t have these girls, I don’t know what I’d do because I just don’t have much family left.”
Wyman worked in an office for roughly 40 years before taking ownership of Thrift Shop, she said.
And, she said, she’s not going back.
“I wouldn’t trade this for anything,” she said. “This is like Christmas every day.”
Sandy Dabney comes from a similar background. Before coming to work at Wyman’s store four years ago, she worked in the corporate world.
The difference between the two professions, she said, was distinct.
At Thrift Shop, “I can wear what I want,” she said. “The boss is flexible with the hours. I can have time off when I need it.”
Dabney’s grandchild often comes to work with her.
“She’s our baby,” Wyman said.
Harriette Decker, who has worked for Wyman since November 2007, said her co-workers and the customers she serves makes her job enjoyable.
“I just like people,” she said. “I like my boss lady.”
Wyman, standing nearby, gave her a quick embrace.
“I like everybody here,” Decker said, “and I like the customers that come here – young, old, whatever.”