An Orange staple since 1973, the Thrift and Gift Shop will celebrate its sixth anniversary at its present location Sept. 4.

The Thrift and Gift was originally opened on Fifth Street, near Green Avenue. Its purpose was to give seniors a way to make a little extra income, selling their arts and crafts. The store also became a gathering place for quilters who would spend hours hand stitching quilts to be sold or raffled.

The Fifth Street location shut its doors on March 31, 2003 and re-opened in its current location at 350 37th St. on Sept. 4, 2003.

Set up in the old Salk Elementary School, they have much more room and carry a larger inventory of items. They have taken five classrooms and combined them into one store full of merchandise.

You can find quilters there every Tuesday and Thursday. Currently they are working on a quilt that is white, with a blue cross stitched top. People can bring in quilt tops that have already been pieced together to have the group do the hand quilting. Three of the quilters, Evelyn Adams, Velma Couture and Mary Guillot have been members of the Thrift and Gift, hand stitching for over 20 years each. Rose Benoit has also been with the group for years, while Barbara Miles and Pat Klipstein joined the women at the new location.

“I’ve been here about three years. When I retired, I started quilting,” said Miles. She remembers watching her grandmother quilt when she was a little girl and wondered what she was doing. “I made a little quilt when I was 16. [My grandmother] gave me the pattern. I’ve still got it,” she said.

They are always looking for experienced quilters to join them. Those wanting to learn the craft are welcome as well.

Quilts available for sale range in price from $150-350. An anniversary quilt will be raffled in December. Tickets are $1 each of 6 for $5 and can be purchased at the shop. The quilt is on display.
They also have fabric for quilting and “fat quarters” available for purchase.

Besides fabric, the Thrift and Gift also sells home decor and handmade crafts, vintage glassware, jewelry–vintage and new, dolls and doll clothes, bird houses, hand embroidered pillow cases and tea towels, craft materials, and lots of gently used clothes, shoes and accessories. Currently, all clothes are half off. 

“You never know what’s going to come through here, “ said Kay Muss, Thrift and Gift manager. “We’re a little low in yarn,” she commented as she walked through the store. One room has shelves full of books and periodicals, including  cookbooks and many on crafts. Hardback books are usually 50 cents, but if it is a special one, it might go as high as $3 said Muss. Most magazines are 25 cents, some may go as high as $1.

They even have wrapping paper and supplies donated from a party store that went out of business.

The organization will take donations of any “gently used” items and is a bargain for seniors who are vendors. Those 55 and up only pay $12 a year to be a members, while vendors under 55 pay just $20 a year. The store takes only a modest 20 percent commission on items sold. Members are also asked to volunteer three hours a month.

With the Christmas season coming soon, the Thrift and Gift might be a good place to start your holiday shopping. It is filled with bargains. Store hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. A bargain room is set up in the cafeteria, run by Charles and Randy Benoit and is open 9-11:30 a.m. only, on the same days of operations

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.