Bargains bring out crowds to thrift store

TUPELO – Mid-month sales are normally slow at The Salvation Army Thrift Store, but a good deal Friday brought out a robust crowd.
Twenty-five percent off everything in the store and a 50-cent price tag on most clothing items created a great incentive for shoppers to support a good cause.
The store usually prices its clothes at 50 cents per item on the last Friday of each month.
According to store manager Thomas Bowles, many thrift-store shoppers are on welfare and they receive their checks at the first of the month. The deals on Friday, however, brought out shoppers from across the economic spectrum.
“Recycling clothes is what it’s all about, especially in this economy,” said Barbara Wooldridge of Tupelo, who shops at the thrift store almost every week.
Wooldridge’s grandchildren, a 4-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl, outgrow clothes pretty quickly, so the thrift store is a great way to keep them in nice duds.
“I usually wind up donating the clothes back when they outgrow them, and it just keeps going forward,” said Wooldridge.
Because of a drop in annual donations, The Salvation Army two months ago had to move the thrift store out of its location on Robert E. Lee Drive and into the smaller building on Daybrite Drive.
The organization also had to suspend its after-school tutoring program which had served Lee County children for more than a decade.
Bowles has been encouraged by the activity so far at the new location. The building was actually the original home of the thrift store before it moved to Robert E. Lee Drive in 2006.
On an average day, Bowles said, sales are typically $800-$1,000. The Salvation Army relies upon its four area thrift stores, including the one in Tupelo, to pump about $160,000 into its social services programs each year.
To drum up a little business Friday, the Army stationed its emergency response vehicle outside the thrift store and gave away hot slices of cheese pizzas and ice cold soda.
Twenty-year-old Morgan Wright, who’s staying at the Army’s lodge on Carnation Street, helped cook and serve.
She went about her work with a bright smile and cheery disposition.
“I’m more than happy to help out,” said Wright. “The Army has done a lot of good things for me.”

Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal