For now, the pretty young woman is looking for employment at any retail shop and, in the meantime, she volunteers once a week as a clerk at Community Thrift in Arlington.
The thrift store provides funding to Sherwood Community Services in Lake Stevens and Quilceda Community Services in Marysville. Proceeds from sales provide about $2,500 a quarter to each agency.
The nonprofits help developmentally disabled children and adults in Snohomish County, and Wright, 24, has been a client at both.
A graduate of Lake Stevens High School, where she ran track and cross country, Wright has completed seven marathons throughout the region. She also loves horses. Her primary passion, however, is fashion.
"I like working with clothes," Wright said. "Volunteering at Community Thrift has helped me learn a lot, and I like helping other people, too. Even if I get a job, I want to keep volunteering here."
Store managers Peggy Marzolf and Patti Metz are her mentors, Wright said.
In return, Metz and Marzolf have high praise for Wright.
"Mimi is so helpful and diligent," Metz said. "We may coach her, but she does a great job."
Wright is a good judge of quality and easily is able to price and tag donated clothing, Marzolf said.
Wright has an innate fashion sense and would be a fine addition to any retail store, said Andrew Urie, who works at Sherwood teaching job-readiness skills.
"But, yes, she has had the desire to work at Nordstrom since she was a teenager," he said.
A grant from the Greater Everett Community Foundation gave Community Thrift the money to open last September, said Karen Harper, who volunteers with Quilceda Community Services, and Pattie Urie, the interim director at Sherwood Community Services.
The store has a supportive customer base in north Snohomish County, Marzolf said.
"We offer collectibles, clothing and furniture in good condition at reasonable prices," Marzolf said. "Many people come here specifically because of the agencies the store supports. Many have disabled children."
Harper's mother, Hazel Venables, 92, advocated in the early 1960s for handicapped education programs in neighborhood public schools in Snohomish County. Venables was instrumental in starting a number of programs for handicapped children and adults in the county, including Quilceda, Sherwood and the Little Green, White and Red Schoolhouses.
"Community Thrift is a golden opportunity for a young woman such as Mimi to have first-hand experience working with customers," Venables said. "She provides great customer service to me when I shop here."
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.
Community Thrift, a second-hand store that supports Sherwood Community Services and Quilceda Community Services, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays in the former Country Charm Dairy barn, 604 E. Gilman Ave., Arlington. More info: 360-435-0707 or www.facebook.com/ArlingtonCommunityThrift.
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