Treasures thrift shop, WCS work in tandem on a Godly missionJan 21, 2021 12:57PM ● By Chuck Tashjian
Carol Schaver chats with customers while ringing up a sale at Treasures, in North Grafton
Beth Barkley did not seem surprised when she was informed on January 7 on the floor of Treasures, a thrift shop in North Grafton, that The Salvation Army’s store for second-hand clothing, furniture, accessories, books and knickknacks just down the road in the Linwood section of Northbridge had closed after a fairly long run.
“What’s going in there?” she asked.
“At first the rumor was a Dollar General, now it’s a car dealership,” a visitor replied. “Glickman Kovago has been working in the building and the empty lot next to it has been cleared.”
Ms. Barkley is manager of Treasures, an enterprise that in contrast to the disappearance of many of its brethren, including some area consignment shops, is thriving. Opened in 2008, Treasures has over the course of thirteen years expanded to three storefronts in the Koopman’s plaza and is brimming with tenderly-cared-for, affordably priced, donated merchandise.
A strong selection of previously-worn apparel for men and women is available at Treasures.
Typical of what can be found at Treasures was a hardcover copy of No Higher Honor/A Memoir of My Years in Washington, written by former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, which the visitor purchased for $4.50.
Treasures was closed for three months because of the pandemic, from mid-March to mid-June, but is taking donations on Mondays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and open for shopping Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5:00 and on Saturdays from 10:00 to 5:00.
As evidence that Treasures is not just for women, there is a rack of men’s clothing, including sports jackets that can be bought for less than twenty dollars.
Acknowledging an impressive array of paintings that have been donated and that are available for purchase, Ms. Barkley said “a man came in and reworked a number of our paintings for the Polish Home in South Grafton.” Also, she noted, “when Pier 1 closed, we bought some of their fixtures and we made a kitchen room.”
Treasures is in good company among the more than 25,000 thrift shops in the U.S. that are surviving in an industry that boasts an annual market share of $10 billion and that employs 122,335 people, according to the Australian research company IBIS World.
Although revenue for thrifts was expected to decline 5.5% in 2020 due to the economic downturn that forced the closure of many brick-and-mortar stores, future prospects look bright. IBIS World notes that while thrifts are mostly dependent for business on customers with yearly incomes below $30,000, demand for these shops’ products is bound to increase as the economy recovers. Disposable income will increase and unemployment will lessen.
In an improved shopping environment, thrifts will become a popular retail destination even for those who could afford to buy goods elsewhere, IBIS World says.
Goodwill, The Salvation Army and The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul remain the leaders in an industry that more than holds its own.
Treasures is demonstrating staying power too; best of all, proceeds from Treasures benefit the Whitinsville Christian School, as they have from the outset.
Rick Lukianuk, head of school at WCS, issued this statement through the office of Laural Plourde, the school’s marketing and communications manager, on the importance of Treasures to Whitinsville Christian:
“Since Treasures opened its doors in 2008, it has provided an important connection to WCS through its mission to raise funds for tuition for all students at Whitinsville Christian School. WCS has received close to $1 million over the years, and these contributions have helped keep tuition affordable for all of our families.
“The connections between WCS and Treasures run deep,” Mr. Lukianuk noted. “In addition to one of its founding members being a WCS alumnus and three-generation family member, Herm Baker, many of the volunteers over the years have included grandparents and parents of WCS students. Our students have been involved with the promotion of Treasures through Capstone Projects and service learning. Our WCS community members also generously donate items and enjoy shopping at the upscale thrift store.
“We are grateful for Treasures, its mission, and its volunteers for all of their work to make a positive difference in God’s Kingdom.”
-------------------------------------------------Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.