Many of those who venture through the doors of the Phippsburg Community Club Thrift Store are looking for second-hand treasures, but what they find is a sense of giving, a strong connection to the community and people who share decades of friendship.
“This is the heartbeat of the community,” said Reggie Scofield, a longtime shop volunteer and club treasurer. “We have a lot of great stuff, and this is where you come to see people.”
On Thursday, March 2, volunteers greet people by their first name or by “How are you?” followed by a hug.
Inside the old Baptist Church at 21915 Third Ave., which has been home to a thrift shop since 1971, the atmosphere fills with friendly conversation as customers pass the counter of items ranging from plates to vintage sewing machines.
In the building next door, customers will find much-loved jeans and other clothing items that still have a few wash cycles to go. There are also toys that are sure to make a child smile, and shoes that have come a long way but still have many miles left in them.
“We get a lot of good stuff,” says Verna Whaley, 95, who was one of the longtime volunteers who helped start the shop around 1968. “We have a little bit of everything here.”
Whaley said the shop was originally in an old school building, but had to move after the furnace caught fire and the building burned to the ground. The store was then housed in the former location of the Iacovetto family’s before moving to the Baptist Church in Phippsburg, which closed around 1973.
Today the shop is open from 10am to 4pm on Thursdays and is run by a group of seven volunteers who have been doing this for as long as they can remember. There has been talk of an expansion to open over the weekend, but Whaley said that’s unlikely for now.
“We just don’t want to put too much pressure on our volunteers,” said Whaley. “The people who work in the shop are all volunteers and most of us want the weekend off.”
Whaley was in the store at 9:30 a.m. every Thursday, along with daughter-in-law Charlotte Whaley who followed in her mother-in-law’s footsteps at the thrift store.
“We just tried that in the past,” said Charlotte Whaley. “It’s just that a lot of people, like me, in the summer we want to go camping or something.”
The money brought in by the thrift store — along with the $3 fee many residents pay to be part of the Phippsburg Community Club — was donated to help turn on street lights, support fire and ambulance services in the towns of Oak Creek and Yampa, and to help people in need.
The store also stocks vintage clothing and other items for theater programs in South Routt and allows teachers in to purchase items they may need for class.
“It’s amazing what we paid for,” said Verna Whaley. “But that’s part of the reason we’re doing this.”
It’s also a downtown store that many people love to visit every Thursday, and depending on the week, customers may find just about anything they want — and maybe a few items they didn’t know they needed.
The shop has lots of kitchen items including silverware, cookware, knives, glassware and even some glassware. Customers can find used bicycles, games and toys, as well as baby clothes, jeans, coats and many other items. But once inside the store, it doesn’t take long to realize that some of the most prized items don’t have price tags.
“I’ve been here a long time it’s just, you know, you have withdrawal symptoms if you can’t make it,” says Sharon Ebaugh, who started visiting thrift stores when her kids were in school.
She said the baby is now 46 years old.
“There is a social part to it,” continues Ebaugh. “We have people you expect to meet on a regular basis, and there are also a lot of new people that you meet when they come to see what we have. That is very fun.
John F. Russell is a business reporter at Steamboat Pilot & Today. To contact him, call 970-871-4209, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.