Come on in, the Thrift Store is Fine (and Filled)
Market Street Mission Thrift Store stocked after being knocked out by Irene.
There are clothes to try on. Couches to check out. Even 24-packs of Diet Coke to consume.
While Hurricane Irene pretty much took out the bottom level of Market Street Mission's thrift store, on George Street, donations of time, money and merchandise has brought the active shop back online.
In some ways, it's even better than before, noted David Scott, executive director of Market Street Mission, as he pointed out some changes made since the August storm, including opening up a wall and moving the cash register, which has allowed whomever is running the register a sight-line the entire length of the store.
"In a good thrift store, you can see the whole thing," he said. "You can help without leaning over people's shoulders."
When Scott said everything was lost on the first floor as a result of Irene, he meant it. That included–besides clothes, furniture and mattresses–a fork lift and snow plow. Spared was the Unique Boutique, a second floor store of antiques and other finds, open Wednesdays through Fridays.
Walking through the store from end-to-end can give one perspective on just how much that loss was. Everything now in the store came after the storm, including chairs, end tables, couches, vanities, racks of clothing, even the aforementioned cases of soda.
Some estimates placed the amount of loss at about $100,000, Scott said.
Though the thrift store is only one smaller part of Market Street Mission's program for men in addiction recovery, Scott noted it was still very important to the entire process. "Work is an important part of life," he said. "And, the guys in this program get it."
One of those guys, Marvin King, went through the addiction recovery program and now serves as the thrift store's sales manager.
He remembered the damage the hurricane did to the place. "Everything on this first level was totally destroyed. Everything had to be thrown out," King said.
But, months later, it's hard to even tell the place had closed at all.
"God has restored this place to its former glory," he said. "Maybe, even better."