The Community Closet re-opened last week, and two other new thrift stores opened this year in Vermilion — The Hunt and Personal Shopper Lakeland.
The Community Closet has been serving Vermilion for 57 years, while the later businesses received their New Business plaques from the Town of Vermilion on February 17.
“There are so many people out there that can’t afford new, expensive items. Up-cycling and reselling businesses have gone up 500 per cent – it’s a huge up and coming thing,” said Shelly Roberts, owner of the Personal Shopper Lakeland.
She’s been doing it for so long personally and started volunteering where her love of salvaging things only started to grow, so she opted to turn it into a business last fall. Now she enjoys going out to search and find things on her own, going to the city and thrifting twice per month to bring back sell-able items.
Many of her customers are looking at gifts for their children or seasonal items, and others will donate items to her. They can e-transfer for contact-less delivery, and she can drop off purchases in town or customers can arrange to pick them up at her place. To check out the items, you can follow @personalshopperlakeland on Facebook or Instagram.
The Hunt thrift shop is located in Lakeland Mall and accepts donations of nearly anything except large appliances, building material, food products, torn or stained clothing and used or open health/beauty products. They even offer gift cards to other local businesses for large donations.
Throughout the pandemic, several customers have been appreciative of having multiple thrift options in the community.
The Community Closet opened in 1964 and operates on Main Street Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am – 4 pm. They currently have a half price sale going on throughout the month that they may extend into April.
“We’re all volunteer staff so aside from rent and telephone, every penny goes back to the community,” said Rose Hardy.
“You could get quite a bit for $10 today with everything being half price. In other places, $10 might not even get you one item,” said Hardy.
Their annual contributions of approximately $20,000 stay in the area through contributions made to youth sports, hospital, lodge, food bank, Santa Anonymous, Stars Air Ambulance, and local fire victims.
Hardy has been volunteering for 20 years, and some of the others even longer. She said they like having something to keep them busy whether they are middle-aged or retired.
“People are very happy to be able to shop for more affordable items,” said Hardy.
The pandemic had them closed for six months last summer and an additional three months this winter. Because people were in need all along, they found alternative ways to meet a number of special requests.
They are looking for more volunteers so if you want to get out for one day per week, you can see Rose Hardy or Val Wynnychuk.
Hardy said thrifting does help to keep items out of the landfill.
“People in town are very generous to donate their items. We are currently only taking partial donations because our pick-up drivers aren’t able to take the excess due to COVID,” said Wynnychuk.