By Barbara Young —
With the first tuition payment having been due on Sept. 15, we’re all digging deep in our pockets for some extra change, right? Well if you can find yourself an extra dollar, I have a deal you can’t pass up.
Grace Church Thrift Store, a non-profit enterprise run out of Grace Episcopal Church, will sell you anything in their store for just $1 or less.
You read that right, $1 for clothing, housewares, books and children’s items. The store is open only on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. so if you want to donate or shop, make space in your weekend schedule.
The thrift store began in April 2011, when Grace Church was financially struggling.
“It was meant to help the church, but it also gave back to the community,” Pat Kell, a store volunteer, said.
“We started [the store] where we marked everything,” said Pam Rueckl, another volunteer who also happens to be Pat’s sister. “It took hours and hours and nothing was selling. Things were piling up because we couldn’t get it out, so a group of us said it was insane! We finally said, ‘a buck for everything.’ Then we don’t have to mark anything. Then the store took off.”
The donations come from parishioners and Menomonie community members. In the past, other churches have sent the remainder of their stock from church garage sales to Grace Church Thrift Store. The thrift store sorts through all donations prior to putting them out to ensure that the items for sale are clean and in good condition.
Initially, the store was contained within one room of the church, but it has since spread to cover the entire first floor.
“We had to move a couple of our Sunday school rooms downstairs,” Kell said.
Despite the number of hours the store takes, which are all volunteer hours, the ladies who work there seem to love what they do.
“I could tell you stories that are just unbelievable,” Kell said while her sister nods in agreement beside her.
“We had one man that came in with his kids,” Kell said. “It was right before school started and he needed clothes for his kids. He had $15.”
“That’s all he had,” Rueckl said.
“I don’t know how much we got him, everything was on sale for 50 cents. His total came to $14 and his kids were so happy which made him happy,” Kell said. “We gave him his change back and you knew that was his last dollar. Just as he got to the door he came back and set the dollar down and said, ‘you keep that for the church.’”
The sisters shared many stories like this one and throughout the telling of each they exchanged words with the customers that were moving throughout the store around us.
Both sisters agree the store is something special because of what it can give to members of the community and their church.
But the greatest part, Kell said, was that “it’s all been given.”