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Wilmington thrift store sees more donations, increased demand this holiday season

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 9:31 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - As global supply chain issues have left several items out of stock both online and in retail stores, one thrift store in Wilmington has seen an increase in both donations and sales this holiday season.

Assistance League of Greater Wilmington Thrift Store saw a 15 percent increase in sales in November of this year compared with November of 2020. The store also saw an increase from the same month in 2019, before the pandemic began.

“We’re getting donations for Christmas,” said Missy Cruz, a volunteer with Assistance League of Greater Wilmington. “So for this week and the next week those donations will come out to the floor.”

The all-volunteer nonprofit organization puts the money made in the store back out into the New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender county communities through a variety of programs including Operation School Bell and Links to Learning.

“The whole reason to thrift shop is because your dollars are staying local,” Cruz said. “We talk about shop local, small businesses, well, that’s us.”

Volunteers believe more customers are flocking to thrift stores because of the time people spent inside last year.

“I think people had time to go through and clean up and downsize,” said volunteer Marsha Olander. “We were benefactors of that. Not as many fancy clothes and parties and not needing as much stuff.”

With supply chain issues leaving shelves empty and delays when ordering items online, a steady flow of shoppers came into the thrift store location on Friday afternoon.

“We don’t have any distribution back ups,” Cruz said. “Everything is here is lovely. Most of the stuff is brand new [or] gently used.”

Among the items available for sale at the thrift store are clothes, kitchen utensils, books, linens, lamps, and holiday decorations.

“Our mission is to enhance the lives of our community’s children and their families,” Olander said.

Volunteers say the amount of donations and sales allows them to only open the store three days per week. The shop plans to close between December 23 and January 6.

Donations are accepted Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Click here to learn about the items you can donate and where they can be dropped off.

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