LIVINGSTON, NJ — St. Peter’s Thrift Shop, which officially re-opened this month for its 64th season in Livingston, is "a true emporium of wonder and treasure,” according to volunteer JoAnn Rella.
The mini department store, composed of bargain items for home and school, is open on Tuesdays with a great deal of new inventory through June and will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at 94 East Mt. Pleasant Avenue.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, co-managers Lourdes Aboud and Pat McChesney, with the help of a rotation of more than a dozen volunteers, invite customers to browse through items that are donated by residents of Livingston and surrounding towns. Aboud said there is typically a line out the door each week of new and regular customers who are eager to view the new goods.
Aboud reported that the shop receives a great deal of quality donations, including seasonal clothing, shoes, purses, accessories, gift items, home décor including artwork, collectibles, home goods, baby items, music and movies, books, toys, games, pet accessories, arts and crafts and more.
She also mentioned some of the especially valuable items that people have contributed to the store.
“Our inventory has included designer clothes such as a Burberry jacket, Nanette Lepore dresses, All Saints clothing, fur coats, clothing from Bloomingdale's/Nordstrom's/Saks 5th Ave, Brooks Brothers suits and more,” said Aboud, adding that the shop has also carried Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch and Coach designer purses and currently holds a pair of Prada shoes, Jimmy Choo shoes and a Tiffany necklace. “Donors regularly give us antique collectibles and vintage, expensive china. Last year, we were gifted with two large birdcages.”
Special hats and a trio of paintings from Thailand were recently donated to the shop as well, and some pieces from abroad have hailed from Poland, Germany, Japan, Israel, France and many other countries.
Some of the latest treasures have included a hookah; a new package of fireworks; a large, wooden model sailboat; and even a collection of dental tools that the shop wasn’t sure would sell, but went to a customer who said he would carve with them.
A few months ago, volunteers feared a mystery object that came in might be drug paraphernalia, but had a laugh when they learned that the object was used in the Caribbean for fruit.
St. Peter’s Thrift Shop is always looking for additional volunteers. If she can recruit more people to help out, Aboud said one of her goals is to open the shop on Thursdays and the occasional Saturday.
According to Aboud, the shop is a labor of love, where volunteers process donations, outreach to other groups and help customers find their treasures. The shop’s volunteers pride themselves on respecting their community of customers and donors, many of whom they have created personal connections with.
Each week, the shop offers specials where entire categories or tag colors are 50 percent off. Hundreds of items are also donated annually to other outreach organizations in need. Additionally, volunteer Ginger McArthur offers a healing prayer to anyone who wants one.
According to Aboud, the volunteers are thrilled to see the donated items finding new homes rather than winding up in landfills. She added that possessions of deceased relatives are often among the donations and that the donors typically leave happy knowing that others will be able to enjoy them. Aboud noted that donating eliminates the guilt of throwing out “precious possessions of loved ones.”
Aboud summarized the benefits of the thrift shop by saying that the donors experience the joy of giving while ridding themselves of excess.
“We enjoy giving our time to turn those donations into affordable items that bring joy to those who thrill in the hunt and feel good about being frugal,” she said.
This Saturday, Sept. 21, all white tags will be half off with the exception of jewelry and seasonal autumn and Halloween items.
St. Peter’s Church is located at 94 East Mt. Pleasant Avenue in Livingston (next to the Ritz Diner). Contact email@example.com to learn more.