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Downtown Middletown thrift store to stay open at least another year

By David Barr davidbarr@pressandjournal.com
Posted 6/21/17

The The Middletown Interfaith Senior Service Thrift Shop will remain open for at least the next year.

Thrift store board of directors president Larry Robbins told the Press & Journal on Wednesday …

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Downtown Middletown thrift store to stay open at least another year

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The Middletown Interfaith Senior Service Thrift Shop will remain open for at least the next year.

Thrift store board of directors president Larry Robbins told the Press & Journal last Wednesday afternoon that the board had unanimously elected to keep the store open after its meeting June 20.

The idea for the store came about in 1974, but the shop didn’t come into existence until 1988, and it has been at its current location at 17 S. Union St. since 1991. Robbins said even at its peak the store did not bring in a great deal of money.

The store’s nest egg was dwindling due to the cost of running the building and paying expenses, and the expenses are outnumbering the proceeds, Robbins previously told the Press & Journal. The board owns the store. Expenses include utilities and insurance, and Robbins said insurance costs are skyrocketing.

With the board electing to stay open, donations once again will be accepted at the store. Items that will be accepted are slightly used clothing, utensils, and other knick-knack items. Items that will not be accepted are furniture, quilts and stuffed animals, according to Robbins.

Also gone are the Salvation Army bins behind the store, which had been added because the thrift store no longer was taking donations for itself. If store officials deem a donated item unsellable for the thrift store, they will donate the item to the Salvation Army.

According to store manager Brenda Thompson, the store had been displaying all the items they had to offer since they were unsure if the store would stay open.

That fact combined with the store not accepting donations since early April resulted in its supply being depleted. Now that the store is accepting donations, they “have to start over again” in rebuilding inventory, according to Thompson.

“Anything in the clothing line because we are out of it,” Thompson said of their needs.

Thompson added that “no one wanted to see it go” and now that the store is remaining open, they want to be a service to the people, whether they are from Middletown or a neighboring town.

The board took the action thanks in part to the efforts of Lauren Warfel, who created a business plan that inspired the board to keep it open.

Attempts to contact Warfel were unsuccessful.

“We have a need for all the people who love the thrift shop to show up and shop,” said Marti Black, whose parents, along with their friends, started the store.

Marjorie Moore was browsing there Monday afternoon, primarily checking out the book section in the back of the store.

She said outside of a library or a bookstore, the thrift shop was the best place to find books during her visits a few times a month.

Moore was “very excited” to hear the store would remain open as closing it would mean the loss of a shopping place, which is something Middletown can’t afford.

She shops there because of the variety of choices, low prices, the nice people running the business, and it’s handy and convenient.

“Convenience is very important,” Moore said. “I want to help people that help the community. I think it was a good decision (to remain open) and it’s a good place to shop.”

The store’s operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except for Wednesday, when it is closed. It is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, and it is closed Sunday.

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