With one year behind them, managers Donna Lynn and B.J. Cohen are more
than pleased with the success of the Atlantic General Hospital Thrift
Shop and can say with satisfaction that the little shop in the Save-A-Lot
Plaza storefront is here to stay.
Running with an idea sparked by the Maryland Association of Hospital Auxiliaries,
the two began with touring thrift shops run by hospital auxiliaries across
the Delmarva Peninsula and elsewhere. They then moved on to selecting
a location, which was a daunting task straight out of Goldilocks and the
Three Bears. This one was too small, that one too large; this one was
too expensive, that one wasn’t in a great location.
They liked the location that is now home to the thrift shop, but the owner
of the plaza was already in negotiation with another renter. When the
deal fell through, Lynn and Cohen pounced on it.
The space, which was once a Laundromat, required a great deal of work.
“But, we looked and saw the possibilities,” said Cohen.
They couldn’t have hoped for a better location. It was just right.
“Being novices, we wanted something simple,” said Cohen. But
with the help of Donna Lynn’s husband, Fred, and the rest of the
renovation crew as well as the hours put in by other hospital auxiliary
members, the store turned out to be something truly unique and wonderful.
Unlike many thrift stores that are little more than boxy rooms with blank
walls and rows of clothing and other merchandise, the Atlantic General
Hospital Thrift Shop has the feel of a specialty shop. The Auxiliary members
say many patrons appreciate the shop’s classy atmosphere, something
the more than 80 volunteers work hard to maintain.
Auxiliary member Beryl Whiteside and her team of designers dress the front
window and regularly change the display according to season or special
occasion. Scarves and handbags along with small household items are artfully
displayed alongside the clothing, shoes and other merchandise.
Open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., the shop enjoys
a brisk business regardless of the time of year, drawing tourists and
townspeople alike. And, Lynn no longer has to lose sleep over the possibility
that the donations will stop: the shop regularly receives donations on
the designated drop-off days of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday –
and every day in between.
The AGH Thrift Shop isn’t just heaven for savvy bargain shoppers
but a haven to the needy in the community as well. The thrift shop provides
vouchers for free clothing to various human service organizations, such
as Agape, Family Services of Berlin, Family Services of Pocomoke City,
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Diakonia, and even the hospital. The organizations
fill out the vouchers specifying what is needed and send individuals to
the shop, and the volunteers help them select items.
Although expansion may be somewhere in the future, it’s the distant
future. “About 80 Auxiliary members work here, but really we have
a core volunteer base of about nine people who give more than 25 hours
a month to the shop,” said Lynn. “We always need more volunteers.”
Staffing the five days a week they’re open as well as the Mondays
they’re rearranging the shop and setting up new donations for display
can sometimes be a challenge. Because most of the volunteers are retired
seniors, a great many of them head to warmer climes during the winter
months and illness is a more common concern.
“Even if a volunteer can work only a few times a month, it’s
a help,” said Cohen. “And, it’s a great opportunity
for Auxiliary members to make friends. “It’s a fun atmosphere,
and you really get to know the other volunteers you’re working with
– and the clientele as well.”
- See more at: http://www.atlanticgeneral.org/main/newscontent/atlantic-general-hospitals-thrift-shop-celebrates-134.aspx#sthash.fgn3oZAy.dpuf
AGH Thrift Shop management greatly appreciates all the generous donations
received at the store, but requests that they be made on the designated
drop off days of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during store hours. Due
to the small size of the shop, no large household items can be accepted
and donating only those clothing items that are currently in season is
appreciated. For more information about the AGH Thrift Shop or how to
become a volunteer there, please call 410-641-1447.