A recent addition to the Mercer Island Thrift Shop is a collection of brand-new and gently used Western wear, including rhinestone boots, hats and leather jackets. Courtesy photo

A recent addition to the Mercer Island Thrift Shop is a collection of brand-new and gently used Western wear, including rhinestone boots, hats and leather jackets. Courtesy photo

Thrift Shop thriving during its Shop Restart and Rebuild operations

Customers are excited about expanded hours.

Since the Mercer Island Thrift Shop expanded its hours to five days a week on Aug. 1, an average of about $15,000 in gross sales has been rolling in each week to support the Island’s Youth and Family Services (YFS).

Hours are currently from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday-Thursday with Sunday being the shop’s busiest day. The five-day schedule has been generating about triple the revenue the shop was hauling in when it was open on just Sundays for five hours for about a year due to the pandemic, according to Interim Administrator Sharon Perez.

“We are still in our restart phase one, getting staff hired and new volunteers trained as we continue to operate under pandemic conditions,” Perez said. “We are very grateful for the overwhelming community support to donate valuable housewares and apparel to support the critical student, senior and safety programs through Youth and Family Services.”

All staff, volunteers and customers are masked up while inside the shop, and masks and hand sanitizer are available at the entrance for those in need. Perez said that many customers have thanked shop personnel for adhering to safety protocols in order to keep everyone healthy and the doors open.

“We are carefully monitoring pandemic safety practices, and will continue to safeguard everyone in the store with social distancing, capacity limitations and masks,” said Perez, who noted in an earlier Reporter story that there was no limit on the amount of customers in the store at a time.

Perez said that customers — at least 50% of whom are non-Island residents — are excited that the shop expanded its hours and that they are helping to fund YFS’ school counselors, food bank and senior services with their purchases. Along with getting great deals on quality items, shoppers can score some “amazing treasures,” Perez added.

Recent donations to the shop were a collection of brand-new and gently used Western wear, including rhinestone boots, hats and leather jackets, and high-quality mountain bikes. The shop’s average sales price per item lands at about $5, however, a 100% wool rug recently topped the single-item sales chart for that week by selling for a whopping $2,000.

The rehiring of three experienced former staff members has helped move the Shop Restart and Rebuild operations along more quickly and efficiently, Perez said. They are searching to fill another vital position of community engagement and volunteer coordinator to work with their 85 current volunteers.

Next up for Perez and her team is continuing to expand their core service hours for donation collection, processing and sales.

“We are creating the strategy for rebuilding in 2022 and beyond, focusing on input from many industry experts and best practices,” she said.

The shop is located at 7710 SE 34th St. For more information and to browse through online items, visit https://www.mercerislandthrift.org/.


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