Thursday, July 9, 2009
Photo by Christina Mennella
Shoppers are greeted by a small volunteer staff, offering warm smiles, a Family atmosphere and an array of different products appealing to the likings of almost every shopper. As the weather gets hotter, cool summer clothes become a necessity. The clothes for sale at Fort Myer’s Thrift Shop are covered with colored tags letting shoppers know these items are selling at between 25 to 75 percent off the original price.
The shop offers other products that prove quite valuable during tough times. Furniture including a couch and a love seat are selling for less than $50; stylish jewelry is sold at the boutique located adjacent to the thrift shop’s main building, at low prices. The Fort Myer Thrift Shop has the perfect product for every shopper.
Susan Phillips, a retired servicemember of the Navy, had clothes she picked out at the shop hung across her shoulder while her daughter was close by scanning knick-knacks to buy on a shelf. ‘‘I have been shopping here for 15 years. There is always a treasure to be found here, and great deals. I have also donated a lot of things here including my daughter’s baby clothes, and today I am here and she is 14 years old,” Phillips said.
Fort Myer’s Thrift Shop is a nonprofit organization that does more for the community than offer products at great prices. In conjunction with the Army Officers Wive’s Club of the Greater Washington Area the Thrift Shop offers scholarships and community grants in efforts to truly help members of the military community.
This year total sales reached more than $350,000, $128,000 of which went to community grants, scholarships and other programs for Soldiers and their Families. And all of this couldn’t have been done without the dedicated and hardworking volunteers that make up the Family-like atmosphere the Thrift store offers to Soldiers, civilians and the public.
The shop is located at the corner of Forrest Circle and Wainwright Road. The public is encouraged not only to come in and shop but to drop off their donations during regular business hours or at any time in the drop box located right outside of the Thrift Shop or at Henderson Hall. Jeane Moore, the thrift store’s manager, express the need for donations and is asking the Fort Myer Military Community and the Greater Washington metropolitan area to keep the Thrift Shop in mind when getting rid of clothes, jewelry or household items.
The consignment department is reserved for members of the military community is located in between the Fort Myer Thrift Shop main building and the boutique. Any member who consigns with the thrift shop gets the 75 percent profit of the total sale. Moore encouraged people to take part in the consignment process in order to be able to give back and profit at the same time.
Ginny Ireland volunteers at the Thrift Shop three days a week. ‘‘I came here first as a customer, and everyone here was so friendly and helpful—I liked the atmosphere. At first I only volunteered once in a while but the friendly atmosphere kept me coming back,” Ireland said.
‘‘My favorite part about this job is taking on organizing projects throughout the shop, and everyone is so appreciative of my work,” she said.
Kathy Candido is the chairman of the volunteers working at the Thrift Shop. According to Candido many of the shop’s volunteers are wives or widows of Soldiers and some of them are in the military themselves.
Candido said, ‘‘Maria Randolph has been here for more than 30 years, and not only is she still working here she serves on the Thrift Shop’s board. We are also fortunate enough to have Dorothy Marsh, a volunteer, who is 92 years old. Unfortunately for us her social life gets in the way — she is off this summer. Our newest hire is Deseree Bayless our new cashier. She tickles us,” Candido said.
‘‘And we have seen many volunteers move on, and we had to get used to that. Their husbands or they themselves get transferred in the military. We just lost one special volunteer: Stephanie Crotty. Her husband is being transferred to another assignment and she is a hardworking volunteer who doesn’t need to be told what to do — a real self starter; she is someone we all will dearly miss.”
The Fort Myer Thrift Shop recently adopted new summer hours. August hours include Saturday, Aug. 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Wednesday, Aug. 5 and Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Stop in and shop, drop off donations or volunteer; the fun Family atmosphere will keep you coming back.