It’s not often a store has something for everybody.
But between the shelves of fine antique crystals, the display of vintage handbags and racks of dog-eared books, you’d be hard pressed not to find something that tickles your fancy at the seemingly small thrift shop just South of Thomas on Scottsdale Road. Once you step instead, you can feel that this shop is different.
“We’re not like your other ‘thrift stores’ or second-hand shops,” manager of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Great Scottsdale Thrift Shop and fashion industry veteran Kathleen Smith, said. “People don’t just come in looking for a bargain – they are looking for something one-of-a-kind. We are a specialty shop. Our inventory is always unique and always changing.”
Maybe it is the constantly moving whimsical displays and the seasonal collections of items that have been waiting for their turn in the store’s window exhibits, some of which have been compared to that of Barneys and other high-end department stores.
Maybe it is the eye-catching contrast between a classical, generations-old violin and an unusual Australian didgeridoo, which sits opposite a bright table of cornucopias.
Or maybe it is the fact that everything in the store – from $10,000 designer dresses to $1 Groucho Marx glasses – is donated, and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the nine branches of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale to help provide a positive environment, quality programs, healthy lifestyles and lifelong learning skills for school-age youth in Scottsdale and the surrounding communities.
According to Smith, supporters of the BGCGS constantly bring new stock. Some benefactors even leave entire estates to the Clubs, resulting in complete furniture sets, clothing collections and other large-ticketed items that would make a bargain hunter’s dream come true.
The store is run primarily by volunteers, some of whom are members of the fundraising Auxiliary Club, as well as BGCGS members who participate in the Keystone Club, one of the leadership programs the Thrift Shop supports. Former Keystone Club kid and Heartly & Ruth Barker Branch member Nestor Martinez knows firsthand the positive affect the Boys & Girls Clubs can have on youth and the impact the Thrift Store has. Martinez joined the Club in 5th grade and never looked back, becoming a Youth of the Year finalist, a designation, the highest honor given to a club member, in 2007.
Now, as a college student, Martinez works both at his former branch and part time as the store’s social media manager.
“It is amazing what he has done for the store,” Smith said. “He has us on all the social media sites, and helps bring in fresh, young ideas.”
In addition to the Scottsdale location, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Thrift Shop sells items all over the country through their eBay store “UniqueBourtique1.”
The biggest challenge of running a volunteer-based store? According to Smith, it is really no different than managing other retails stores.
“The key to running a successful retail shop is all about customer service. The only difference is we change so often, a volunteer may come into work and the whole place looks different!” Smith said with a laugh. “With volunteers, you have workers coming in a few times a week to once every few weeks. They’ll come in to a whole new store every time!”
The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale Thrift Shop is located at 2626 N. Scottsdale Road and accepts donations year round. For more information, including how to donate, call 480-949-5787 or visit the Thrift Shop’s Facebook, Twitter @BGSCThriftShop or Instagram @BGCSThrift.