Photos and text by Connie Leinbach
Those who are looking for items not necessarily new are likely to find them in the Ocracoke Village Thrift.
And now, gearing up for opening later this month in a new, bigger location in the historic Williams House across from Community Square, there will be even more items from which to choose.
“We did a lot to fix it up,” said Felicity Gage, one of the managers.
Along with the increased interior space, when the backyard is readied, there will be parking in the back.
There is storage space upstairs, and office space for the Ocracoke Youth Center, which is the parent company for the both Community Park ball field and the store. Proceeds from the Thrift are the Youth Center’s ongoing fundraiser.
Gage, Gael Hawkins and Sharon Miller, the other co-managers, are busy hanging clothes, organizing books and the various items this island “department store” sells.
They expect the new venue will open in the middle of this month.
This year, all the clothing will be tagged with a price, which is a new practice, Gage said,.
Most items in the shop are under $10, even $5, though prices vary for larger items.
What’s most rewarding is the recycling aspect of the store, Gage said.
The shop has items you can’t find elsewhere on the island, such as furniture, belts, VHS and cassette tapes and other outdated technology.
Young people here for the summer will come in and buy bed linens and table ware, not caring if these items are mismatched.
Cottage renters sometimes come in to look for pot holders, wine glasses, pots and pans, Hawkins said.
“Sometimes they bring these things back,” she said with a laugh.
There are children’s items, old vinyl records, clocks, jewelry, paintings and various holiday decorations.
“Ties and suits for the prom, hardware and phone chargers are big,” Gage said.
“We killed it at Halloween this year,” Hawkins said.
She added that the shop gets lots of island visitors—who both buy and donate items.
“There are two women from Chapel Hill and they bring us stuff twice a year,” Hawkins said. “A lot of it is from their friends.”
Along with the visitors who love to poke around thrift stores are the island residents who patronize the shop since there are new arrivals almost daily.
“Some people come in every day to see what’s new,” Hawkins said.
The shop is a convenience for the island, Gage said—to both find or get rid of stuff.
But she stresses that the shop does not take a lot of large electronics, nor do they want items that are broken or only half work.
As for clothes, Gage said they request that donors wash the clothes first.
While clothing in bad shape—with stains or tears—cannot be used in the store, the managers and others who go up the beach take the unusable T-shirts to the Hotline stores in Buxton or Nags Head.
Hotline, a women’s crisis agency, has thrift stores but also has an industry that weaves old T-shirts into usable items, such as rugs or handbags.
The Village Thrift will be open five days a week at first and possibly add another day if there are more volunteers to staff it.
When it opens, hours will most likely be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday to Saturday for the winter. Hours will be posted on the door.