Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Dec
  • 8

Making a dollar go farther at St. Stephen’s Thrift Shop

Posted By December 8, 2011 | 1:32 pm | Lead Story #3
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By William T. Clew

WORCESTER – There are five rooms of men’s, women’s, children’s and infants’ clothing, some of it new, some of it “experienced,” and almost all of it goes on sale Saturday for $1.
The St. Stephen Thrift Shop at 4 Caroline St. will hold the dollar sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m Saturday and again on Dec. 17, according to Vicki Lyons, thrift store manager.
The sale is designed to move stock to customers to make room for new items. Everything will be marked down to $1 except for coats, shoes and accessories, she said.
The Thrift Store is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through  Saturdays. Donations of clothes come from St. Stephen’s parishioners  and from others who live in the area.
Some of it has been used, but some people occasionally will donate brand new items. All of it, used or new, must be clean and in good condition. If it doesn’t pass inspection it is sent to other places where it can be used. Nothing goes to waste, she said.
Mrs. Lyons said she doesn’t raise prices on the new items. If used shirts are being sold at $4, for example, that is what new shirts will cost, too.
She said she checks prices at other thrift stores so that the prices at St. Stephen’s are competitive with, and sometimes a bit lower than, the prices at other thrift stores.
St. Stephen’s Thrift Shop is in the old convent building behind the elementary school. It belongs to the parish. The thrift  shop doesn’t pay rent so its overhead is lower than that of some other thrift stores, Mrs. Lyons said. The income helps to support the parish food pantry and the school.
Thrift store customers come from all over, and they come on foot, by bus and in cars, she said. Caroline Street, which is closed to through-traffic during school hours, can be a bit of a problem for cars, she said. Traffic cannot exit onto Grafton Street. So drivers who are able to park near the thrift shop have to turn around and exit up the hill onto Plantation Street.
“I’ve made three-point turns for some customers,” Ms. Lyons said with a laugh.
They also come from across the economic spectrum. Some are people who are well off but who might be bargain hunting for well-known labels. And there are some of those in the thrift shop, Mrs. Lyons said. Others are people in need, and there are many people in need now.
Still others are too poor to be able to afford to buy the clothing at the store. For those people the thrift shop has vouchers which will let them get the items at no cost, she said.
There are about eight volunteers who work at the thrift shop, usually two or three at a time, she said. A couple of them have been there for 20 years or so. The thrift shop used to be on Hamilton Street, Mrs. Lyons said. It moved to its present location 2 1/2 years ago.