This month marks 40 years for the Thrift and Gift Shop in Orange.

It started downtown off Green Avenue as a place senior citizens could sell crafts and such to make a little extra money. They also sold lunches for $3, which was very popular with the people that worked downtown. Ladies gathered to make quilts and still gather for quilting a couple of days a week now.

Ten years ago, the shop moved to the old Salk Elementary School located on 37th Street.

Charles “CJ’ Benoit, 88, has been a volunteer at Thrift and Gift almost from the start. He and his son Randy look after the bargain room which has garage sale type deals. Benoit also earns money on his woodworking projects. It was one of his birdhouses that kicked the shop over its first $100,000 decades ago.

“I believe Thrift and Gift was one of the last stores to leave downtown,” said Nova Strickland. The spry 80-year-old is the daughter of former Orange sheriff, the late Chester Holts. Strickland and Benoit are the two oldest current volunteers at the shop. Strickland said she doesn’t volunteer on a set schedule, but comes in when she can.

Recently the quilters from Thrift and Gift demonstrated their art at the recent Oil Centennial in Orangefield at the Cormier Museum. They were such a hit they will return for the Christmas in Orangefield celebration in December. They will also pick the raffle winner for their annual quilt fundraiser at the event.

The Thrift and Gift is open Tuesday through Friday and is located at 350 N. 37th St. Call (409) 886-7649 for more information.

Nova Strickland and CJ Benoit are volunteers at the Thrift and Gift which celebrates 40 years this month. RECORD PHOTO: Penny LeLeux

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.