The Penny Wise Thrift Shop

The Penny Wise Thrift shop was created to raise funds for St Mary’s church and its community outreach programs through the resale of donated items such as clothing home furnishings and small appliances. Its volunteers include members and friends of St Mary’s Church. At the beginning it operated in space rented in a strip mall, but when the present church building was built (with a large amount of support provided by Penny Wise) the original church building was converted for use as sales space for Penny Wise. Penny Wise is governed by a board of directors comprising its Director, several volunteers and a representative from the vestry.

Penny Wise is open 12 months a year from Monday through Saturday; hours are 10-3 in season and 10-2 during the summer months. Each day is overseen by a volunteer manager who is willing to assume overall responsibility for the activities that day. Generally, there are 2-6 other volunteers each day depending on the season; one of these each day is a cashier who tallies sales and accepts payments from customers either as cash or credit card. Volunteers strive to make all customers welcome and to answer any questions they may have about the merchandise.

Donations are accepted at any time but preferably during business hours. Volunteers sort donations, accepting most but sending the rest either to Harvest Time Ministries or Goodwill. Pricing for clothing is decided by the board and reviewed periodically. Household goods, linens and small appliances are priced by the volunteers who aim for consistency among similar items in the store.

For the past 5 years Penny Wise has earned between $80-100,000 per year and presented the total to St Mary’s Church. The church uses half for operations, and the Outreach Committee distributes the other half to local charities. Some of the funds have also been used in the past for emergencies such as hurricane relief.