Thrift stores offer bargains with local benefits

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LOWER TOWNSHIP – Thrift stores in Lower Township and West Cape May saw brisk business on Black Friday, and hope to keep cash registers ringing through Christmas.

By the time most big box retailers were finished with the overnight rush after Thanksgiving, most local thrift stores had just started opening their doors throughout the county.
VIMspirations in West Cape May, fresh off its fall opening, is experiencing its first holiday shopping season.
“We have a $2 rack with some lovely slacks and a suit or two,” said Tricia Collins, a retired nurse volunteering at the store. “The prices are always low, the money is going to a great group and there is a lot to look through.”
Profits from the thrift store go to Volunteers in Medicine, a free health care facility for residents of Cape May County who have no access to medical insurance and who meet financial eligibility criteria.
VIM focuses on primary health care, emphasizing disease prevention, health promotion and patient education in an easily accessible facility with the same dignity and confidentiality afforded in the private sector, according to a press release. The VIM clinic provides a compassionate and nurturing environment for patients, volunteers and staff based on a culture of caring.
Now in its tenth year, VIM has treated more than 4,000 patients with 24,000 cumulative visits, all at no charge. The need for VIM’s services continues to grow. Currently, approximately 600 residents of Cape May County consider VIM their primary care doctor, according to the organization.
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
Annette Scully, of the Cape Regional EtCetera Shop in North Cape May, said the thrift store offered discounts for Black Friday shopping. Clothing prices generally range from three to 15 dollars, she said.
Scully, who manages the Cape May Court House Etcera shop as well, said that her shop has a “nice selection of gift shop items, Precious Moments figurines and the like.”
“You can find interesting items and make your shopping budget go a little further,” she said.
EtCetera Shop’s proceeds benefit Cape Regional Medical Center and its building projects.
Both thrift shops have put out their Christmas and holiday decorations and clothing.
Pete Wilson, owner of North End Thrift in Villas and Cape May, said second hand, consignment and thrift stores offer bargain prices for shoppers.
“You might look through the housewares and find a Norman Rockwell collectible, or a FireKing casserole that reminds you of something your grandmother used to have,” he said. “For $5, you end up with a nice dish and some great memories.”
Wilson said that he offered 10 to 20 percent off prices throughout both of his stores on Black Friday, which pull in a steady stream of local shoppers and out-of-town visitors who enjoy the thrill of the hunt.
“Shopping thrift stores is a great idea,” he said. “It keeps money in your community at a time when the economy is not so great, and gives you a bargain.”
Wilson said he will offer fresh-cut North Carolina Frazier fir trees for $45 starting on Dec. 1 through a buy a tree/give a tree program.
“For every tree sold, we donate one to a local family who needs a Christmas tree,” he said. “I don’t make money on the deal, but it’s a nice way to spread around some holiday cheer.”

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