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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany


Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Tough times drive shoppers to base Thrift Shop for bargains

By Art Powell | | March 26, 2009

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During these tough economic times, buyers and sellers here are realizing the value of the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Wives Thrift Shop in Building 5580. It offers consignment sales and the inventory changes almost daily.

“I wanted to buy furniture for some friends who had a new baby. When I went to the Thrift Shop, they had some great baby furniture so I bought it and my friends were so happy and I got a great deal,” said shopper Mary Freels. “You never know what’s going to be in there when you go shopping.”

The Thrift Shop accepts both clean, serviceable consignments and donations from anyone who has access to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga.

As far as determining the price for an item, store workers say they will honor a reasonable price request from the person placing the merchandise into the Thrift Shop, or will set the price for them, if asked.

“When an item sells, the seller gets 75 percent and we get 25 percent,” said Mary Sutton, store manager.

The Thrift Shop has been in operation since the early 1970s and is run by volunteers, and the money they raise supports a variety of base events.

“They’ve bought the trophies we hand out at the annual Buddy Fishing Tournament here for the past seven years,” said Eddie Parramore, natural resources manager, Installation and Environment Division, MCLB Albany. “They also sell concessions and help make the fishing tournament the success that it is.”

The Thrift Shop is open 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“But, if I get here at 9:45 a.m., I’ll open then. If someone is in here near closing time, I’ll let them finish shopping,” said Sutton, who arrived at MCLB Albany in 1971 with her Marine husband.

Clothing for all ages, including civilian and military items; household goods and sports equipment make up most of the inventory in the Thrift Shop on any given day with household items being the biggest seller.

Thrift Shop workers enjoy talking to shoppers and have anecdotes about some of the strangest things ever dropped off at the store.

“One of the craziest things I ever saw was leftover food that people brought in or left in the donation box outside,” said Susan Mardon, who volunteers her time at the Thrift Shop and is the treasurer. “It probably comes from people who are moving and don’t know what to do with the leftovers in their refrigerator.”

Among items that will not be accepted at the Thrift Shop are cosmetics or personal care products that have been opened. Consignees may bring in a maximum of 50 items per month and must sign an agreement stating the rules for placing merchandise at the Thrift Shop.

“Proceeds from the sale of donated items go to the Thrift Shop. Consignments may stay in the shop for 90 days at full price, then, it’s reduced to half-price, if the customers approve it. After that, it can go back to the customer or we donate it to a local charity, which gives it away,” added Mardon.

Tough economic times have increased traffic at the Thrift Shop and one item that is popular is children’s clothing.

“Why shouldn’t a young Marine family come in here and buy children’s play clothing? We have a table with nothing but clothing on it and the customer can fill a paper bag with as much clothing as they can get into it and it costs a dollar,” said Mardon.

Another table loaded with household items is available for a dollar per bag-load.

Military families who have suffered a loss from incidents such as a fire at their home, have benefited from the donation of free clothing and household items from the Thrift Shop. If emergency donations come from items still on consignment, the Thrift Shop pays the consignee for the merchandise they donate.

Volunteers also take their activities into the community by visiting local nursing homes with cake and a smile for the residents. Thrift Shop workers also ask for used birthday cards, so they can recycle them and pass them out. They recycle them by removing the written portion and using the cover with a note written on the back.

Money raised from the Thrift Shop not only pays for trophies at the Buddy Fishing Tournament, but for two scholarships. One for a dependent and another is for a spouse who is going to school. Applications and details are available at the Thrift Shop, which can be contacted at (229) 436-2368.


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