A new shop in Waldorf intends to sell good stuff for good works beginning this Saturday.
The Good Stuff Thrift Shop will open its doors at 10 a.m. as a new fundraising arm of Health Partners, a health services organization that delivers affordable medical and dental care — service fees are on a sliding scale based on income — to those in need. The new 1,600-square-foot shop is in the Health Partners building at 3070 Crain Highway, next to the Old Waldorf School and the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Community Center. The latter is hosting its annual holiday craft fair on Saturday as well, giving Christmas gift shoppers a chance to double-dip in one trip.
“We’re opening on Saturday because the Jaycees are having their craft fair on Saturday,” said Sandy McGraw, the volunteer coordinator at Health Partners and one of the driving forces behind the new thrift shop. “And so we would be crazy to not take advantage of that.”
The thrift shop, which promises only the “good stuff,” is set up much like a for-profit store with different departments: housewares, furniture, sports equipment and games and women’s, men’s and children’s clothing racks.
“We’re going to try real hard to keep the shelves neat and that kind of thing,” said volunteer Marian Jenkins of Waldorf, McGraw’s sister. “I think this is unique. While they all have a good purpose, a lot of thrift shops don’t really concentrate on giving an environment of pleasure shopping and browsing, the kind of thing that people enjoy. I think this one will.”
McGraw came up with the idea of setting up the thrift shop after another sister told her about a successful secondhand store run by her church in Delaware. That, along with a couple of organizations moving their offices and leaving behind unused space at the Health Partners building and a hole in the revenue stream with the lost rent payments, spurred McGraw and her fellow board members — she serves on the Health Partners board of directors and as vice president on the new Good Stuff Inc. board — to move forward with developing a thrift shop.
“The whole point here is to keep the health care services that are delivered through Health Partners as affordable as we possibly can,” McGraw said. “We get grants, we get support through the county, we get donations from the community, but it’s never enough. So, we are always looking for another income stream.”
She said the successful shop in Delaware was able to give away $85,000 last year and this past June grossed $24,000. The first year goal for Good Stuff is to at least break even, with a good possibility of positive income, and learn from mistakes to build a strong store and customer base — as well as attract more volunteers.
“We were fortunate enough to get a grant from the state of Maryland to pay for a portion of our start-up expenses. So, fortunately, purchasing the point-of-sale system … was covered for us,” McGraw said. “We did not want to take a penny from Health Partners to start this. We were very fortunate in that regard.”
“Right now we have 35 volunteers,” she added. “I need another 35 volunteers, and I think we can really have this rolling. Basically, we have no operating expenses right now other than supplies. … So we’re in pretty good shape.”
McGraw said she needs more volunteers to run the store four days a week and help with sorting, cleaning and tagging clothing, and the other tasks of running a thrift store. The shop will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
“And those are ambitious hours,” McGraw said. “The shop in Delaware found that Saturdays, even though they wanted to stay open late, it was difficult to get volunteers.
“We’re really looking for support from the community: in the form of customers, in the form of volunteers and in the forum of donors any other way.”
Jenkins has been working every day this week, along with many others, to get the store set up, decorated and opened this Saturday. After opening day, she’s planning to volunteer one day a week to run the shop, but she’s as committed to Health Partners as her sister, having been associated with the health care service since it was started in 1992 by Sisters Michaeleen and Gladys Marie of the Sisters of Holy Cross.
“It’s a pleasure, really, because you know that there’s a purpose to what you’re doing, and you can see an end product,” she said.
“This was a real need,” Jenkins added about the new thrift shop. “It’s going to, hopefully, really bring in a consistent cashflow. Volunteers have been very generous, but it takes a lot to keep health care going.”