Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is
For the real bargains and to show love to local nonprofit organizations, shop the South Brunswick area thrift stores.
If you like a bargain, you can almost always find what you are looking for at one of the local thrift stores, and at prices so reasonable you can’t believe it. With so many stores to choose from, how do you know which ones to visit?
There are a lot of similarities between the stores and what they carry, but there are big differences in the organizations they support. So, you might want to consider making the one you choose to shop at (or donate your items to) be the one that supports the organization you most want to help out. In other words, by your choice of a thrift store, you can put your money where your heart is.
Here, in alphabetical order, are the thrift stores in Brunswick County and the nonprofit charitable organization each one supports.
CIS Thrift Shops
1635 N. Howe Street, Southport
1780-9 Chandlers Lane, Sunset Beach
Communities in Schools’ (CIS) mission is to provide the necessary resources to keep at-risk kids in school and help them graduate to the next grade. They have Success Coaches who work with the kids and offer encouragement and support, and they fund Teen Court and Peer Court. According to Bonnie Jordan, CIS Executive Director, all four CIS Thrift Shops together contribute approximately 25 percent of the Communities in Schools’ annual programs and operational expenses.
The Southport CIS thrift shop has a large selection of clothes, shoes, books, housewares, CDs, suitcases and even a Diva Dive for formal wear. They also have what they call a Tag Rack, which has designer clothes with the original price tag still on them, and you can see that the shop’s prices are a tiny fraction of the original selling price.
Dosher Flea Market
129 E. Moore Street, Southport
According to Barbara Farley, co-chair of Dosher Flea Market, they donate approximately $50,000 a year to Dosher Hospital for specific specialized equipment and programs that are outside of the hospital’s operating budget. Their store is quite large. On the first floor they have clothes for everyone, children’s toys, books, jewelry, pillows and pictures, but no furniture or electronics. On the second floor they have better women’s clothing.
5602 E. Oak Island Drive, Oak Island
Along with their store in Leland, Hope Chest supports Hope Harbor Home’s shelter and programs for women who are victims of domestic violence. Kari Randolph, the Oak Island store manager, estimates that her store takes in about $1,000 a day.
Their huge store carries a large quantity of just about everything for just about everybody at surprisingly low prices. Their large selection of furniture is especially bargain-priced to move it in and out quickly. They have the largest selection of jewelry of any thrift store. They even have a woman who specializes in appraising and pricing the jewelry, and if she finds a piece and isn’t sure about its value, she gets an expert opinion from the licensed appraiser at SeaSide Jewelers, about 2 miles down the road. They provide this service free of charge because their owner, Kathryn Adams, says, “Supporting battered women is a cause near and dear to my heart.”
A quick story about donations and a word of caution. A woman brought in a large bag containing, among other things, several pairs of nylon hose. When the volunteer unloaded the bag, she found a beautiful diamond ring wrapped up in the nylons and she thought it might be a real diamond. She took it to SeaSide Jewelers and they appraised it at $6,000. Fortunately, the volunteer remembered the woman who dropped off that bag, called her and asked if she missed her ring. The woman checked her nylon stockings drawer and was aghast to discover that the ring was not there. So, a happy ending to what could have been a financial disaster.
4170 Long Beach Road, Southport
6560 Beach Drive, Ocean Isle Beach
Along with the ReStores in Ocean Isle Beach and Leland, the Southport ReStore donates a total net profit of $600,000 to $800,000 annually to Habitat for Humanity, the organization that builds houses for those who qualify and can’t afford to buy one.
The Southport ReStore has a very large selection of everything except clothing in its 12,500-square-foot building. They have all kinds of furniture including beds and mattresses, rugs, sofas, chairs, tables, lamps and chests. They have appliances, electronics, housewares, hand tools and even bikes. They manage all of this inventory with only 20 volunteers and six paid staff. When asked why some exquisite carved pieces and almost new sofas and tables were priced so low, the assistant manager on duty says, “The objective is to get stuff in and get it out.”
4831 Port Loop Road, Southport
10045 Beach Drive, Calabash
6885 Beach Drive SW, Ocean Isle Beach
The three Sheltered Treasures stores together provide about 50 percent of the funds needed to operate Providence Home, a short-term shelter for youth who, because of a high risk or crisis situation, cannot remain with their families. The store in Southport has clothes, a very large housewares department and “whatever furniture fits through the door,” says their manager, Kay Hogue. They have a lot of repeat customers, like Lorraine Sylvester, who says she comes in often because, “I like the personnel and the way they organize the store.” Lorraine was about to check out when she came across a “prize” – a heavy frying pan, so she quickly added that to her purchases.
All of the local thrift stores have sales from time to time when they are overstocked on certain items. And they are happy to accept donations during the hours they are open. The greatest needs are household items, small furniture, interesting collectibles, linens and holiday decor. And, of course, gently used clothing. All except Dosher Flea Market will pick up your large items for sale, but you are on your own to take your purchases home.
All of the stores need more volunteers. If you have a few hours a week to contribute to the store that supports the organization whose mission most resonates with you, you would be very welcome to join their volunteer staff. Or if you are looking for a real bargain, you just might find it at the store that donates its proceeds to your favorite cause. And that’s a win-win for everybody.