Westbridge Thrift Shop is the only mall in town according to Sara Zier who works as one of the 17 volunteers who keep the place organized and open.
They support the second “R” in the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle mantra of waste reduction. “The donations we receive help divert no longer wanted, but still useful items from our landfills,” says Zier. The thrift store has accomplished much in the ten years it has been in operation. Zier estimates that in the last five years they have made over $10,000 each year. “So in the past ten we must have made $60,000.”
It began as a small room in the basement and has grown considerably.
Proceeds from the thrift store have maintained the community hall, purchased shipping containers for storage of seasonal clothing items, an outbuilding was constructed to provide more display space and a sorting room was added at the back of the hall.
“We are saving gas—we aren’t going to Kelowna—we are shopping locally,” Zier said. “We get some awesome donations. If it wasn’t for the community supporting us then the thrift store wouldn’t exist.”
The whole operation strongly suggests that if women were put in charge of things we would solve a lot of things in this world.
“Whenever there has been significant change in the world there has been a strong woman involved,” said thrift shop volunteer Nan Vasseur. “Everyone of us have been in business at some time in our life. We don’t have any axe to grind with each other. We really love each other. We are comrades and there is no power tripping.”
The store operates on the principle of quality before quantity and that philosophy has earned them a lot of well-deserved compliments. Everything is clean and in good condition.
Many customers come from the local campgrounds—people who have forgotten to bring a blanket, coffee pot or a sweater. “Many of our donations are also passed on to other organizations in need. The S.P.C.A receives blankets, towel and rags. The women’s transition house receives clothing and gift packs at Christmas. The extra yarn is transformed into quilts that are given to patients at the hospital.”
“If anyone is in need give me a call,” said Zier. “If you are down and out, homeless and need to start off fresh that’s what we are for. We are here to make money but we also are here to help whoever needs it.”
Summer hours for the store are Fridays and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Not shown in the picture but also volunteering to keep the Westbridge Thrift Store open are Jill Chapin, Joyce Evans, Sue Fillmore, Karen Fillo, Gloria Lautard, Shelly Nakatsu, Shirley Nakatsu, Cindy Senft, Hazel Self, Carmela Theroux and Elva Williams.