More space to raise funds that support welfare grants, scholarships
Story and photo by Karl Weisel
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Public Affairs Office
Looking for a bargain and a way to help the community?
Both can be accomplished easily in one simple visit to the Wiesbaden Community Spouses Club’s new Thrift Shop on Mainz-Kastel Storage Station. The store, which recently relocated to Building 4013 (from next to the Community Bank to across from the shoppette), now offers six times as much space, allowing for a much wider display area and expanded offerings.
And every sale generates money that is returned to the community in the form of WCSC welfare grants and scholarships.
“You never know what you’ll find here,” said Thrift Shop Manager Lilly Parkos. “It’s really important for Soldiers and their families because they can get things cheaper here than on the economy. They can also earn money for their used items.
“Last year we made about $90,000 that went back to welfare and grants,” Parkos said.
With the move and more space than in the past, the volunteers and staff have been able to create more of a department store-type atmosphere, the manager said. “You’ll find merchandise from all over the world including clothes, unusual costumes, transformers (costing considerably less than at the Exchange), 220-volt appliances, souvenirs and a big furniture selection. There are designer clothes, masks from Africa and a lot of children’s clothes and toys.”
Parker said that when she originally started working at the Thrift Shop as a bookkeeper, the stock quickly grew faster than the available space in the former location.
The move was a “win-win situation for everyone,” Parkos said, especially the volunteers who now have a “much better work environment.” She explained that the store relies on the dedicated staff of about 20 volunteers and four paid staff members. “Without them we would not be able to exist.”
She added that the Thrift Shop currently has an opening for a paid consignment clerk position. “We’re also always looking for new faces ― people to serve as volunteers. It’s a great working environment. Volunteers learn people skills, sorting, stocking, displaying and decorating.”
Anyone interested in connecting with the Thrift Shop can call civ (06134) 1888 388, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit WCSC Thrift Shop on Facebook. People can also check out photos, sales and other Thrift Shop news on the Facebook page, she said.
The manager asked that people only drop off consignments during operating hours and never leave items out in front of the facility. “People can bring up to 12 items on one working day (limited to up to six clothing items). They name the price, we ticket it and it remains for six weeks on the floor. We keep a 30 percent commission of the sale,” Parkos explained.
Although the Thrift Shop staff held a soft opening in their new Mainz-Kastel Storage Station location in early January, everyone is invited to the grand opening on Feb. 2 at noon.
“We’ll have some giveaways and some Thrift Shop vouchers for the first 15 customers,” said Patricia Holt, WCSC Thrift shop chair.
“We’ve had some amazing volunteers help us with the move,” said Holt, mentioning members of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, Boy Scouts and others. “That’s really why we’re having a grand opening — to make sure we thank everyone who helped us. We met a lot of new friends.”
Parkos added that live entertainment will also be featured during the grand opening.
So the next time you’re shopping for a bargain, don’t forget to stop by the Thrift Shop. The store is open Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.