HANNIBAL — The Nifty Thrifty store at Douglass Community Services was bustling with activity as patrons looked through garments during a 25-cent clothing sale just after the store opened at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Stacey Nicholas, director of community outreach services with Douglass Community Services — a United Way agency— said a team of roughly 40 volunteers operates the store inside the DCS facility at 711 Grand Ave., with donations received from community donors. Most of the clothing items are priced between $1 and $2. Nicholas said the inventory of items like housewares, toys and books is constantly changing, and volunteers come in each weekday with the goal of meeting fellow community members' needs.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the store held a 25-cent sale, and a large amount of fall and winter items will soon lead to a “Mega $1” sale Wednesday, Oct. 30 and Thursday, Oct. 31. Volunteers also give clothing to visitors who are in dire need — Nicholas said they gave roughly $1,100 worth of clothing to visitors in September.
The store typically brings in about $275 to $300 each day in sales, and Nicholas said the volunteers at the store are focused on making a difference for each visitor.
“It's really not about making money as it is about serving people's needs,” Nicholas said. “At the Project Community Connect event last Thursday, our thrift store was a major donor of interview clothing for people who needed clothing to interview for this week's job fair.”
Nicholas motioned toward each room along the newly organized and cleaned hallway of the store. Each room contained different items, with one large room containing items from local donors.
“Thank God for them, because we couldn't keep it going,” volunteer Marsha Whelan said. It just makes you feel really good when you help people — they're appreciative of it.”
Whelan feels gratification when she helps people find the items they need — she said some people come in after losing all their possessions in a house fire, needing to rebuild after losing everything.
Several patrons carried stacks of clothing and other items to Whelan and fellow volunteer Pat Murphy during the sale day.
Melinda Dodd visited the store for the first time, carrying a tote filled with items for her children, ages 10, nine, five and three.
“There's a lot to choose from,” Dodd said. “I was worried about that, because a lot of places — you just kind of hope for the best.”
Robin Pierce said the Nifty Thrifty Store is one of her favorite destinations when she's shopping for her 13-year-old and eight-year-old children.
“I love this store. I come here all the time,” Pierce said. “I always find my kids nice things.”
The Nifty Thrifty store is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Nicholas said the next new volunteer orientation is scheduled for Friday Nov. 8. More information about the store or how to become a volunteer is available by calling DCS at 573-221-3892.