Thrift Shop thrives with shop restart and rebuild operations


Since the Mercer Island Thrift Shop extended its hours of operation to five days a week on August 1, an average of approximately $ 15,000 in gross sales has been recorded each week to support youth and family services of the island (YFS).

Hours of operation are currently 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, with Sunday being the store’s busiest day. According to interim administrator Sharon Perez, the five-day program generated about three times the store’s revenue when it was only open on Sundays for five hours for about a year due to the pandemic.

“We are still in our first phase of restarting, hiring staff and training new volunteers as we continue to operate under pandemic conditions,” Perez said. “We are so grateful for the overwhelming support from the community to donate valuable household items and clothing to support essential programs for students, seniors and safety through youth and family services. . “

All staff, volunteers, and customers are masked inside the store, and masks and hand sanitizer are available at the entrance for those in need. Perez said many customers thanked store staff for following safety protocols in order to keep everyone healthy and the doors open.

“We are carefully monitoring pandemic safety practices and will continue to protect everyone in the store with social distancing, capacity limitations and masks,” said Perez, who noted in a precedent. Journalist story that there was no limit on the number of customers in the store at a time.

Perez said customers – at least 50% of whom are not island residents – are delighted the store has expanded its hours of operation and that they are helping fund school counselors, the food bank and YFS senior services with their purchases. Along with getting great deals on quality items, shoppers can earn “incredible treasures,” Perez added.

Recent donations to the store consisted of a collection of new and lightly used Western clothing, including rhinestone boots, hats and leather jackets, as well as high-quality mountain bikes. The store’s average selling price per item is around $ 5, however, a 100% wool rug recently topped the one item sales chart for this week by selling for $ 2,000.

The rehiring of three experienced former staff members helped move the workshop restart and rebuild operations faster and more efficiently, Perez said. They are looking to fill another vital community engagement and volunteer coordinator position to work with their 85 current volunteers.

The next step for Perez and his team continues to extend their core service hours for the collection, processing and sale of donations.

“We are creating the reconstruction strategy in 2022 and beyond, focusing on the contributions of many industry experts and best practices,” she said.

The store is located at 7710 SE 34th St. For more information and to browse items online, visit https://www.mercerislandthrift.org/.

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