The TSA Thrift Shop celebrated its Grand Opening on September 27 to enthusiastic response from the community! Inspired by the vision of Linda and Andy Boldt, a group of dedicated TSA volunteers found a way to create revenue while meeting a recognized need in the community for an affordable, reliable source of clothing and small household goods.
Back in May 2015, a Board of Directors and a Management Team were established. The Board of Directors, chaired by Judy Ryan, oversees the operation of the Thrift Shop, while the Management Team led by Linda Boldt takes care of sorting/pricing, daily operations/stock management, volunteer coordination, and external coordination and promotion.
Throughout the summer, volunteers cleaned, repaired, and painted the space vacated by former tenants, Columbus House. Donations of clothing, toys, books, and small household goods kept volunteers busy sorting, pricing, and arranging. Clothes racks previously used at the UCW New to You sales were refurbished. More clothes racks and display facilities were donated. A TSA Thrift Shop logo was developed and a flyer incorporating the logo was developed for use in advertising.
The soft opening took place August 10. The shop is now open every Monday from 10:00-2:00 (Tuesday after a holiday Monday) and every Thursday from 3:00-7:00. Donations are received the same days from 10:00-1:00 and 3:00-6:00 respectively.
Volunteers are crucial to the operation of the Thrift Shop. During open hours on Monday and Thursday, the shop has at least 2 volunteers on cash and 2 volunteers or more on sorting and pricing. On Tuesdays, volunteers are in the shop sorting and pricing, while 1 volunteer cuts cotton items into rags suitable to sell in bulk – reducing landfill waste!
The volunteer coordinators presently have a group of 28 people on which to call and hope to have more come forward to ensure that the time required from existing volunteers is reasonable. Volunteers who work in the shop when it is open to the public are required to have a Vulnerable Sector Check from the OPP. This police check is not required for volunteers who help on Tuesdays.
Donations have exceeded volunteer ability to sort and price. Women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing in good repair are priced affordably and put on display as soon as space is available. As well, small household goods are welcome but electrical items cannot be accepted. Unfortunately there is no space available to store items that are out of season. Items not deemed appropriate for sale at TSA are bagged and picked up for use by the Diabetes Association or other agencies. Some items are bagged for waste disposal.
It is planned that the TSA Thrift Shop will provide payment from sales to the Church quarterly. Based on sales in August and September the Board has set a target of $2500/month for the Church. This target will be reviewed quarterly during the first year of operation and revised as appropriate.
To maintain a strong link with the Community and to support the Community and to foster Community support for long term success, the Board and Management Team plan to have the TSA Thrift Shop donate to the community in a tangible way. The goal is to make a difference by contributing 10% of funds raised… nominally $250/mo. This would be provided quarterly to various charities, such as the Renfrew and District Food Bank or Robbie Dean Centre. Such donations would be celebrated publicly. It is planned that this giving would be implemented in 2016.
For the months of August, September and October, the average number of daily customers at TSA Thrift Shop was about 60 and average daily cash sale about $350.
The vision of the TSA Thrift Shop is that the Renfrew and area community will search out a financially stable Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church(TSA) as a source of material, social and spiritual support for individuals and families in need, and that TSA will grow in its faith through interaction with the community at large.