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Editor’s note: The headline for this story has been edited for clarity from the originally published story.
By Gael Hawkins
The Ocracoke Youth Center board of directors has decided to shut down the Village Thrift owing to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic until it can find a new location.
Remaining merchandise from Village Thrift will be offered for free to all sometime in September. A date for the giveaway has not yet been decided.
Announcement of the dates and hours will be posted online, on social media, at the post office and Variety Store.
Village Thrift was originally located in a shared space with The Blue Door Antiques shop in the back of the Ocracoke Coffee Company.
Paula Schramel and Karen Lovejoy came up with the thrift store concept to raise money for the Ocracoke Youth Center which was established in 1995 as a nonprofit to provide services and support to the youth of the community.
When Youth Center programming was placed on hiatus in the early 2010s revenue from the Thrift was set aside for future community needs.
A long dreamed of green space dedicated to recreation was realized in 2012 after a long search by the Ocracoke Baseball Committee and the Ocracoke Youth Center.
Land at the end of Maurice Ballance Road was found for a community park. The project was funded through a combination of private fundraising, grants, and public involvement via use agreements. At that point, the Village Thrift became a critical component in providing operational support to the community park project.
In 2015, the Thrift moved into a much larger facility and operated successfully there until Hurricane Dorian flooded the building in 2019.
A large group of dedicated volunteers has been the mainstay of the Thrift since its inception.