(Feb. 1, 2013) When Diakonia opened its thrift shop, Used To Be Mine, on Route 611 in West Ocean City in 2009, it operated out of approximately 1,200 square feet. Now, at 3,600 square feet, the store is three times as large and pieces of furniture for every room of the house are available.
Claudia Nagle, executive director of Diakonia in West Ocean City, which provides emergency and transitional housing, food services, counseling and assistance to its guests, said she had always wanted to open a thrift store. Donations of clothing, homegoods and other items had accumulated over the years and the organization had run out of storage space.
“I knew there was a need for low cost quality items across the community,” she said.
Nagle said she searched for a location to house a thrift shop and finally found a spot in West Ocean City. The one-unit store, which featured new and gently used clothing, household items, books and small furniture, celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in July 2009.
About a year later, the unit next door became available and Used To Be Mine expanded into the space.
One unit has kitchen and bath items, other goods for the home and games. The second unit features clothing for men and women, with a nook displaying children’s merchandise.
Just recently, the thrift shop took over a third unit.
“We really wanted to offer large furniture and now with the additional space we can do that,” Nagle said. “The community has really supported us.”
An assortment of couches, chairs, tables, dining room sets, lamps, paintings, dressers, cabinets, knick-knack and accent pieces, among other items, are available.
“There’s quite an array of things there,” Nagle said.
Between 70 and 80 people volunteer in the thrift shop, doing a variety of jobs. Mary Ferry manages the shop.
More than 100 people volunteer their time with Diakonia on a regular basis. Addi-
tional volunteers are always welcome.
People with large trucks are currently needed to pick up furniture from those donating pieces. Anyone who wants to donate large pieces should contact Tom Schulz, head of the thrift shop committee, at 410-213-0923.
All other donations can be taken to the Diakonia house, located at 12747 Old Bridge Road in West Ocean City.
New and gently used items will be accepted. Diakonia does not accept electronics or bedding.
Funds generated through the thrift store support Diakonia’s programs and services in the community.
“It seems to be going very well. We’ve had a lot of good response with the expanded area,” Schulz said. “Furniture had been crammed into one of the areas and it was hard for people to see what they were shopping for. Now, with its own separate section, people can see everything much better.”
The thrift shop, located on Route 611 and Sunset Avenue, is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Donations are sorted and the store is stocked on Monday and Tuesday. Schulz said the store’s busiest day is Wednesday because that’s when the newest selections are available.
“Week to week there’s always something new or different,” he said. “That’s what makes thrift shopping fun; there’s always something new.”