The Seventh Day Adventist Thrift Store, or as it is aptly named “The Thrift Store,” recently moved locations across West Palmer Street in Franklin. With the move, The Thrift Store also expanded its operations.
“We are a community service center. The money that we make in the thrift shop goes back into the community,” said store manager Kay Durandetta. “We help with rent, electric, water, prescriptions, clothing and we now have a food bank.” She said that there was not enough space at the original location, and that the amount of people they helped, and items for sale, were piling up.
“We have people coming in all the time, so we stay busy. We had to get out of that old place, there wasn’t enough room and the building was so old,” laughed Margaret McNary, who has been a Thrift Store volunteer for approximately ten years. “A lot of people need help and we’re just happy to help.”
Last year, according to Durandetta, the Thrift Store aided more than 500 families with bills and food, along with cases that neighboring hunger relief agencies like CareNet may not be able to handle.
“We do communicate with them,” said CareNet bookkeeper Sandra Queen of her organization’s dealings with The Thrift Store. “Not a lot. Just when we might not be able to help someone pay on a bill, we will check and see if they can handle it. It’s helpful,” she said. Last year, CareNet assisted 5,192 people with getting food or financial help in Macon County.
Since the Thrift Store had moved from its former location just right across the road, store workers have been busy getting the place ready for the public.
“We haven’t had our office set up yet to get back into helping the people,” said Durandetta. “We’re not really set up for helping people yet. But once we do, everyday there’s going to be people coming in.” She said that since the move, people do come for assistance, though the numbers are down due to its transition.
Durandetta, 86, is no stranger to the thrift store community center business. She ran another one, also under the umbrella of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, in Port Charlotte for 30 years. She began running the Franklin store more than four years ago. “We’re doing good now,” she said.
For those who need help, they can come in and apply for assistance. “When they come in, they fill out an application for monetary aid.”
But the Thrift Store itself could always use aid in its operations. “I’ve got help, but I could use more,” she said. “I’m always needing help.” The center is located next to Deb’s Cats n Quilts on West Palmer Street.