St. Vincent de Paul relocating thrift shop

There's a new thrift shop in store for the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The local non-profit that provides meals 365 days a year to those in need at the Drop In Centre in the downtown core of Prince George needed a bigger space for the thrift shop and after a two-year search found a new location.

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The former Golden Palace Chinese restaurant, across from the Native Friendship Centre, at 1645 Third Ave., is the ideal location for the new store, which could be open as soon as August.

The society has been at its current location at 1180 Third Ave. since 1983, which is 3,000 square feet in size.

The new location will offer 4,300 square feet, including a basement and storage area. When the new location opens, it will be able to accept donations of furniture and appliances.

It's a big relief that they won't have to turn away donations any longer, said Mary Kranrod, a volunteer with St. Vincent de Paul.

"Prince George's generosity has made it absolutely possible for St. Vincent's to do their work," said Kranrod.

"And I know it's going to continue and the donations will grow because we'll have a larger area."

Every afternoon after 1 p.m. Monday to Friday, there's a staffed vehicle that's able to pick up donations so those who can't drop off their donations have an alternative when they are spring cleaning or looking to downsize.

All the volunteers who work at the current thrift shop are happy to have their sections of the store expanded to accommodate more of everything.

There's a book section, a children's room that offers clothing, toys and necessities, there's an electronics and small appliances section, the main space is taken up with gently-used clothing for all ages as well as a special designer rack for those name-brand items that find their way into the store through donations from the community.

There's wool, fabric, linens, and many household items like pots and pans, dishes and cutlery and, encased in glass, is a nice selection of jewelry, including some fine items that are voluntarily appraised, examined, polished and made ready for sale by a local jeweller.

Proceeds from the thrift shop benefit those in the community.

In 2016, 3,994 low-income people were served through the voucher program where they were allotted two $15 vouchers a month for clothing.

"At our thrift store prices, that's pretty impressive," said Kranrod.

"Lots of times we're putting in extras to make sure they have what they need."

For their dignity and respect, there is a designated staff person who will work with the people who come in with vouchers.

"So that they get as much attention as any shopper at the store," said Bernie Goold, longtime volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The paid staff person who helps those with vouchers is funded in part by a social grant from the City of Prince George, which eases the burden of wages for the non-profit.

New this year is a tax exemption from the city to non-profit thrift stores that alleviates the burden for St. Vincent's.

"Everything we do and all the proceeds go right back into the Prince George community," said Kranrod.

"It doesn't go anywhere else."

St. Vincent de Paul Society needs to do some major renovations on the new site as it was previously a restaurant.

The society is asking for volunteers who are certified electricians and plumbers as well as those with strong backs to take up carpet and remove ceiling tiles. All the safety and protective equipment has been donated, so masks, protective eye wear, gloves and coveralls, along with pizza and pop will be on site for those willing to put in an hour or two to help.

To volunteer, call 250-562-5136.

On the extensive wish list to get the thrift shop ready are: 20-litre buckets of primer and satin finish paint, a 50-gallon natural gas hot water tank; a security surveillance system; a washer and dryer; R-12, 23 inch insulation; fluorescent lighting fixtures featuring two tubes in surface mounts as well as 2x4 T-bar ceiling mounts; a 35-foot by four foot high wrought iron security screen for the store front; 10 feet of cabinets, wall and base; and two deep laundry tubs with taps.

To donate building materials, contact Dave Fuller at 250-617-7467. To consider other donations, the whole wish list is posted at ssvdppg.com.

A Mother's Day fundraiser will see St. Vincent de Paul Society volunteers at Art Knapp's, 4411 Kimball Rd., on May 13 and May 14 offering hot dogs and hamburgers.

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