You hear it often – Shop. Donate. Volunteer. But what’s it like to be a Volunteer at Impact Thrift?
I spoke with Janice Miller, one of our wonderful dedicated volunteers who offered to share her story.
“Like most people, things didn’t turn out exactly the way they were planned,” said Janice when we spoke earlier this week. “Originally, I was an English teacher, and I taught for six of the worst years of my life” in a Philadelphia high school. “Then, I wanted something calm so I went to library school and got a degree in Library Science. You can’t get much calmer than being a librarian.”
But again, life took a different turn, and Janice became a temporary employee in the computer science industry. She soon became a programmer trainee, and through on-the-job training she became a programmer and eventually a project manager. “A good fit for my skill set because I’m naturally bossy and organized!” she joked.
As that company changed due to the times, outsourcing and downsizing, Janice was able to retire at the age of 55. Not one to sit at home, she began working for her niece who owned a greeting card and stationary business. Janice participated in every aspect of the retail business from shipping to billing to customer service to taking out the trash!
Recently, she chose to retire again in order to focus on some of her other interests. Calling upon her past experience as an English teacher and librarian, Janice chose to be a literacy tutor.
“In the process of getting set up with that,” she explained, “I went to RSVP and learned about Impact Thrift.” The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program connects those wishing to volunteers their time with organizations that would love the help. For more information about RSVP, go to http://www.rsvpmc.org.
“I need to be busy. I needed something more. I’m here two days per week and after working for Impact I go to the library to tutor,” said Janice. “I like it here so much more than I ever expected. I like the people, working with the staff and the customers. There are customers who come in every single week. It keeps me coming back. It brings out something in my personality that other activities don’t.”
Janice was not a thrift shopper before volunteering at Impact Thrift.
“I never went to a thrift shop because my sister is a thrift shop shopper, and she looks horrible. So I thought, that’s what they have at thrift shops. But once I was here, I came to realize it’s not the fault of the thrift shop; it’s the lousy taste of my sister!” (Shhhh… don’t tell her sister she said that!)
Janice also appreciates her volunteer discount.
“I have many items I’ve gotten for 82 cents. When I go out to lunch with my friends I’ll go like 82 cents (pointing to her sweater)… my Eddie Bauer down jacket… nine dollars! It’s fun!”
As life gets busier and busier every day, one of the greatest gifts you can give is the gift of your time. Are you interested in giving your time and becoming a volunteer at one of our stores or Donation Processing Center? Contact us today to find out how you can get involved!
The month of February will bring BIG changes to Impact Thrift Stores. These changes will increase our strength as an organization and enable us to better serve you and the community.
On February 4, 2017, our stores at 14 E. Moreland Ave, Hatboro, and 208 Commerce Circle, Bristol, will cease to operate as Impact Thrift Stores. While the decision to divest these two locations was not an easy one, we are excited by the opportunity to concentrate our resources on our three largest locations: Feasterville, Montgomeryville, and Norristown. The size of the Feasterville, Montgomeryville, and Norristown stores allows them to host the full line of Impact Thrift’s gently used merchandise, including furniture and large household items which are difficult to display in the Hatboro store and impossible in the Bristol store. Impact Thrift will also be increasing our focus on online shopping. We invite you to visit our new ecommerce site to explore an expanded collection of vintage, unique, and collectible items.
Impact Thrift’s commitment to our mission has not changed. We take the responsibility of supporting our charities, caring for our employees, and providing access to affordable clothing and household goods very seriously. With an increasingly competitive retail environment, compounded by the surge of online sellers, Impact Thrift has been experiencing lower than projected sales trends. In response to these trends, we have made many adjustments to improve sales and reduce costs. However, despite our best efforts, it was evident that more significant actions were needed in order to preserve our mission and continue to serve our community. As a result, Impact Thrift Stores entered into an agreement to sell our Hatboro and Bristol locations to a private entity. The 15 employees at the Hatboro and Bristol stores have been offered comparable positions with the new retailer who will occupy the space after February 4th. This change will allow us to further reduce expenses, refocus our resources, and most importantly, move our mission forward.
We thank you for your past support of the Hatboro and Bristol locations, and welcome you to visit our Feasterville, Montgomeryville and Norristown stores. Please note, Impact Thrift Gift Cards, Winter Rewards Cards and coupons will only be valid at Impact Thrift Stores in Feasterville, Montgomeryville, and Norristown after 2/4/17.
Q.) Why is Impact Thrift ceasing operations in two stores?
A.) With no margin, we have no mission. The divestiture of our smaller Hatboro and Bristol stores will allow us to focus on our three largest, most successful locations that allow us to accommodate our full line of product offerings. We will also be expanding our e-commerce business that will allow us to bring unique items and collectibles of interest to a broader customer base.
Q.) What will become of the two stores?
A.) As we began plans for restructuring, we were approached by an individual representing an independent, for-profit, business entity that expressed an interest in acquiring both the Bristol and Hatboro store businesses. Heaven’s Treasure Thrift & Value Stores LLC, out of Wilmington, DE plans to open for business in Bristol and Hatboro as of Monday, February 6, 2017.
Q.) What will happen to the employees at the Bristol and Hatboro stores?
A.) As a condition of the transaction, the ownership of Heaven’s Treasures will offer employment to all 15 current Impact Thrift Stores employees at the Hatboro and Bristol retail locations at their current rate of pay and comparable benefits.
Q.) How will this affect Impact Thrift Stores’ mission in the community?
A.) The Impact Thrift mission has not changed. We remain committed to providing access to affordable clothing and household goods at our three larger stores, the largest of which, Feasterville, is located less than 10 miles from the Bristol and Hatboro stores. We also believe these changes will make Impact Thrift stronger financially and thus better able to support our many partner charities that help people in need.
Q.) What external pressures helped lead to this decision?
A.) The retail market has become increasingly more competitive as demonstrated by the recent announcements of upcoming store closures by major retailers nationwide (e.g., Macy’s, Sears, K-Mart). The shift to online shopping has also added to the complexity of the retail environment, making it more challenging for retailers to support the overhead of traditional “brick-and-mortar” locations.
Q.) Will Impact Thrift Stores focus more on e-commerce or online sales?
A.) In December of last year, Impact Thrift made a commitment to moving much of its silent auction items to an online format. Customer response has been overwhelmingly positive and early results in this area have been promising. Click here to visit Impact Thrift’s eBay store. Traditional Silent Auction is still available at our Feasterville and Montgomeryville locations.
Q.) Where will Winter Rewards Cards, Gift Cards and coupons be accepted?
A.) The Impact Thrift $15 Winter Rewards Cards are redeemable until February 28 at all stores except Bristol and Hatboro. Due to the change in ownership, the cards will only be accepted in Bristol and Hatboro until Feb 4. The same holds true for Impact Thrift Gift Cards and coupons. Winter Rewards cards, Gift Cards and coupons will continue to be accepted at Impact Thrift Stores Feasterville, Montgomeryville and Norristown locations.
Q.) Will there be “going out of business” sales at the Bristol and Hatboro stores?
A.) No. We will continue to offer the same selection of great merchandise, with new inventory arriving daily at the two stores through February 4. Our usual discounts, coupons and promotions will apply through February 4, but we do not plan to hold any going out of business sales.
Those of you familiar with our larger stores surely know our Silent Auction… stocked with unique, interesting and nostalgic artwork, furniture, collectibles, books and more!
Well, we’re taking Silent Auction into the 21st Century! Introducing ImpactOnline… Impact Thrift’s new eBay Store!
ImpactOnline will offer smaller items that are easy to ship such as artwork, books, collections, clothing and accessories. You’ll still find larger artwork and furniture along with a variety of those smaller items and collections at our Feasterville and Montgomeryville stores’ Silent Auction. These items are not always “antique” or “collectible” but are always unique, interesting and nostalgic. Some may have a greater value, others are simply unusual. Each of our stores and eBay shop will have a different, unique mix of items.
When possible, we will do a little research into the item if it is signed, if it has a label or some kind of obvious identification or back story. The items are not authenticated but put out for bid in Silent Auction or eBay “as is”. The market value of each item is determined by you, the bidding public.
In the store Silent Auction, we simply set the opening bid and bidding intervals and invite you to place your bids! Bidding continues until 7 operating business days without a new bid, at which point the highest bidder is awarded the item.
On eBay, we also set an opening bid and often a “buy it now” price! Some items will have a reserve to meet as well.
Your cash donation matched…
As 2016 comes to a close, I look back on the 15-year history of Impact Thrift Stores from our modest beginnings in Hatboro in 2001 to the operation we have today that touches more than 700,000 lives annually. Click here to read our Mission Update.
Over the years, many have experienced and continue to enjoy the thrill of thrift at our stores, and many local community members in need are supported by our organization. We pledge to continue to respond to the needs in our community as we are able while we adjust to the more challenging state of the retail business.
But to do this, we need your help.
Please consider giving an end of year, tax-deductible cash donation to Impact Thrift Stores. You can double the impact of your gift if you make a donation today as members of our Board of Directors have pledged to match dollar for dollar each donation received by December 31, 2016, up to a total of $20,000.
To donate online, click here. Check should be mailed to Impact Thrift Stores, Inc., 201 Progress Drive, Montgomeryville, PA 18936.
President & CEO
The City of Philadelphia has issued a code blue and while Chosen 300 works to make sure everyone who needs a place to stay are connected with outreach teams; the homeless’ daily journey is faced with fridged temperatures subjecting these folks to sickness, hospitalization, and possibly even death. Chosen 300 Executive Director, Brian Jenkins says the extra help came just in time to help the homeless battle the cold.
Event: Coats For The Homeless @ Chosen 300 To Tackle The Cold with help from Buckman’s Ski Shop & Impact Thift Stores.
Date: Friday, December 16, 2016 – 6:00 PM
Location: Chosen 300 Spring Garden, 1116 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123
On New Years Day Chosen 300 will hold its Annual Polar Bear Plunge in Telford helping folks to remember the challenge the homeless face during the winter and raise much needed funds for the organization. Click here for more information about the Polar Bear Plunge!
Chosen 300 Ministries is one of Impact Thrift Stores supported charities. It is an interdenominational mission that distributes more than 150,000 meals each year as well as services to the homeless of Center City, West Philadelphia & Pottstown. In addition Chosen 300 distributes more than 300,000 lbs of food each year in Guyana, Jamaica, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Liberia & Uganda.
Impact Thrift Stores will be OPEN for business
THREE Sundays in December 2016!
December 4, 11 and 18, all 5 of our stores will be open from Noon to 6pm…. You are invited to SHOP for brand new and gently used Clothing and Stocking Stuffers PLUS…. THREE color tags in our clothing departments will be 50% off!
Our stores will also accept donations during these hours! (Clothing and Shoe donations only at our Bristol store please!)
My, how time flies!
This year, Impact Thrift Stores celebrates 15 years! From our first store that opened in Hatboro, PA in late 2001 through the recent move of our Norristown store to a larger, more modern facility, Impact Thrift has been serving the Philadelphia area community in so many ways! Check out this timeline of our growth…
On January 15, 2001, Impact Thrift Stores founder, Paul Baur thought, “If a thrift store could support one charity, why couldn’t it support many?” The concept of Impact Thrift was born.
By December 5, 2001, Impact Thrift Stores incorporated, received its 501(c)(3) status, established a board of directors, purchased a building, filled a warehouse with gently used donations and opened for business in the old Santarians Department Store building in Hatboro. As donations poured in, they rapidly outgrew the one-store concept.
In November of 2002, a second store was opened on West Main Street in Lansdale.
In July 2004, Impact Thrift was asked to take over the struggling Lifeline Thrift in East Norriton and added International Health Services (the organization supported by Lifeline Thrift) as a supported charity.
In November 2008, the East Norriton store moved to a new location at 1798 Markley Street in Norristown. In August of 2009, the Lansdale operation was moved to a larger location at the old Atlantic Book Warehouse building on Route 309 in Montgomeryville.
In April 2012, Impact Thrift Stores opened its fourth and largest store located on Street Road in the Bucks Crossing Shopping Center in Feasterville. This mega-size thrift store, previously Value City and before that Clover, introduced Impact Thrift Stores to Bucks County shoppers and donors.
In November 2012, Impact Thrift Stores opened a Donation Processing Center centrally located in Montgomeryville, PA. Donations are received at each store and trucked to the processing center daily where a veritable army of staff sorts, tags for resale or recycles the items. Those tagged for sale are shipped to the stores daily.
In August 2015, Impact Thrift opened the Bristol Store as a clothing-only store at 208 Commerce Circle in Bristol to help meet a need in that area for lower cost clothing. We have since added Bric-a-Brac and Media departments to that store.
In August 2016, the Norristown Impact Thrift moved to a much larger, more modern building in the Norristown Center.
Today, Impact Thrift Stores is touching more lives than ever and remains focused on financially supporting locally based charities; offering reasonably priced merchandise for sale through its five retail stores; and providing jobs to more than 240 part-time and full-time employees.
Since 2012, Impact Thrift has responsibly recycled more than 9.3 million pounds of clothing, metals, books and household items that could not be sold in our stores. In addition, last year Impact Thrift welcomed 986 volunteers who completed 19,559 hours of service. Visit our website to learn more about how you can get involved!