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Job perks turn shoppers into thrift shop volunteers

Volunteers find new friends while keeping charity store running

  • Volunteer Mary Flaming rings up the $3.99 sale of an antique fire engine to Ben Weil on Thursday at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Volunteer Mary Flaming rings up the $3.99 sale of an antique fire engine to Ben Weil on Thursday at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

  • Volunteer Leonor Selvidge sets new items out and prices them Thursday at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Volunteer Leonor Selvidge sets new items out and prices them Thursday at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

  • In the back of the shop, volunteers Pat Westfall (left) and Arnene Cooper examine clothing to make sure every piece is clean, in good condition and ab...

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    In the back of the shop, volunteers Pat Westfall (left) and Arnene Cooper examine clothing to make sure every piece is clean, in good condition and able to pass their smell test Thursday at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

  • In the back of the shop, cheerful volunteers Arnene Cooper (left) and Pat Westfall go through donated clothing items Thursday at the New & Again Thrif...

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    In the back of the shop, cheerful volunteers Arnene Cooper (left) and Pat Westfall go through donated clothing items Thursday at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

  • Near the back door of the shop, Pat Westfall separates reusable clothing from donations at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Near the back door of the shop, Pat Westfall separates reusable clothing from donations at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

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By Eric Stevick
Herald Writer
Published:
  • Volunteer Mary Flaming rings up the $3.99 sale of an antique fire engine to Ben Weil on Thursday at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Volunteer Mary Flaming rings up the $3.99 sale of an antique fire engine to Ben Weil on Thursday at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

  • Volunteer Leonor Selvidge sets new items out and prices them Thursday at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Volunteer Leonor Selvidge sets new items out and prices them Thursday at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

  • In the back of the shop, volunteers Pat Westfall (left) and Arnene Cooper examine clothing to make sure every piece is clean, in good condition and ab...

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    In the back of the shop, volunteers Pat Westfall (left) and Arnene Cooper examine clothing to make sure every piece is clean, in good condition and able to pass their smell test Thursday at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

  • In the back of the shop, cheerful volunteers Arnene Cooper (left) and Pat Westfall go through donated clothing items Thursday at the New & Again Thrif...

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    In the back of the shop, cheerful volunteers Arnene Cooper (left) and Pat Westfall go through donated clothing items Thursday at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

  • Near the back door of the shop, Pat Westfall separates reusable clothing from donations at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Near the back door of the shop, Pat Westfall separates reusable clothing from donations at the New & Again Thrift Shoppe in Everett.

EVERETT -- Leonor Selvidge first visited the thrift shop as a customer two years ago.
She would bring her young children who liked to browse.
Before she knew it, she was a volunteer.
Arnene Cooper had a similar shopper-turned-volunteer experience shortly after the store opened several years ago.
Both were drawn to the clean and spacious New & Again Thrift Shoppe at 3116 Rucker Ave. and to its mission of helping domestic violence victims.
Volunteers describe another fringe benefit -- time spent with co-workers.
"These people have become my friends," said Mary Flaming, a retired Everett elementary school teacher.
The shop has one paid staff member and is otherwise run by volunteers.
The store is operated by Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County. Women staying at the center's shelter and transitional housing can use vouchers to get free clothes and household items there.
The store also is open to the public, with proceeds benefiting the center.
Phil Coldwell is the store manager. He started as a volunteer on Saturdays when his wife managed the store.
He said he is impressed by how conscientious each of the more than two dozen volunteers are.
"They won't let things go out of the back that they wouldn't wear themselves," Coldwell said.
Cooper, 75, and Pat Westfall, 67, make sure of that. The other day, they were in the back of the shop carefully sorting through large plastic bags of donations, including dozens of items of clothing.
They inspect each article with discerning eyes.
"We are kind of quality control," Cooper said. "We're kind of fussy. We want to make sure what is out front is good enough."
What isn't deemed high enough quality finds another home.
The store carries variety of goods, such as kitchen utensils, pots and pans, wicker baskets, furniture, puzzles and games and even greeting cards and old vinyl records.
Cooper sometimes brings home stained clothing and gives them a thorough washing. She also sells high value items on eBay to fetch a higher price for the shelter.
Westfall, who had a double aneurism more than a decade ago, takes a bus from Marysville to volunteer at the Everett shop once a week. She also volunteers at the Marysville library.
"I love being here, just being around other people and helping people," she said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.
Store hours
The New & Again Thrift Shoppe is at 3116 Rucker Ave., Everett.
Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It's closed on Sunday and Monday.
For more information about the store, call 425-258-4428.



Story tags » EverettDomestic violence

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