North Andover Thrift Shop
Last in a series of five consignment and thrift stores.
The North Andover Thrift Shop at 172 Sutton St. differs in two ways from the four consignment shops in town. First it is non-profit, and second it does not take consignments. "All clothes for sale are donated," explained store manager Cari Marchese.
The thrift shop was started in 1955 as part of the North Parish church. It became a non-profit organization in the 1980's and was located in the own town center until it burned down. In 2002, it moved to its current location, the former Scholfield Textile Mill building, built in 1802.
Marchese, store manager since 1993,said the shop used to accept consignments until it moved to the Sutton Street location. "Space was an issue," she explained.
Thirty-two volunteers staff eight, 4 hour shifts, Tuesday-Saturday. "Most of the volunteers have been with us quite a while," Marchese explained. She said it was long- time volunteer and North Andover resident Loretta Middleton, who had suggested they switch from consignments to donations.
Donations of adult clothes, shoes in good condition, books and non electric household goods are accepted. Marchese points to a sign which reads "Donations Happily Accepted When Space is Available." People who donate receive a tax slip.
Marchese explained that if the clothing is marginal in its condition, she will donate it to the People's Pantry which she also manages.
According to Marchese, the profits of the thrift shop are donated to community organizations and programs, charities and scholarships. In addition to 2 annual scholarships, yearly recipients can differ and have included Big Brother/Big Sister of Greater Lawrence, People's Pantry, Professional Center for Handicapped Children, Women's Resource Center, Visiting Nurses, Windrush Farm Equestrian Rehabilitation Center and others.
Customers come from a cross section of the population and all ages. Marchese said she even sees teenagers who look for "funky clothing."
"The price of an item goes through a markdown process until it goes into the 50 cent box," she explained If it still doesn't sell it will get donated to the People's Pantry. She gave an example of a jacket that is priced at $8. A couple of weeks later, it is reduced to $4, then $2, $1 and then 50 cents.
Marchese said she has not seen any difference with the economic downturn and knows that her prices are the lowest around.
Summing it up, Marchese explained,"When you donate and purchase goods at the North Andover Thrift Shop, you are both recycling and helping our community."
The North Andover Thrift Shop is open Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The phone number is 978-689-9520.