Gift & Thrift’s latest financial reports show a major increase in prof- its since 2005. Although the past five years have shown a general down- turn in the economy for the majority of American businesses and, indeed, the world, this has not been the case for a small organization that is located just down the road from EMU.
Gift & Thrift is a place to find all sorts of second-hand goods, ranging from quality clothing to housewares. It is a nonprofit business that is a part of a larger division, including Artisan’s Hope and Booksavers of Virginia. These three organizations work in tan- dem with each other under the “Gift & Thrift umbrella.”
According to store manager Peggy Brubaker, the store is a place for items “that would otherwise fill a landfill, and profits the community by provid- ing these items at good prices.” Gift & Thrift benefits from “generous donations” from “wonderful donors” and is the place to find an array of “really good stuff.”
Gift & Thrift General Manager Deb King (wife of EMU’s Athletic Director Dave King) said, “People like our store! It is attractive, it does not smell like a thrift store, we sell good things at good prices, and the mission is extremely important to the organization and community.”
Indeed, in the last five years, Gift & Thrift has made record-breaking sales. Half of all net income from the three di- visions of the organization is donated to Mennonite Central Committee each year, and in 2012, $336,760 was given to MCC.
This number marks a general trend toward increasing profits. In 2005, donations totaled $31,334 and have greatly increased since then.
King said, “This indicates that we have increased our total net income by nearly 80 percent in five years!” King hopes that this trend will continue. The other half of Gift & Thrift’s net profits go towards paying the mortgage on the buildings that house each of the divi- sions.
King said that the organization is able to thrive for many reasons, but the fact that it is located in a university town and in such close proximity to a retirement home greatly helps. She also emphasized that it could not exist without volunteers. There are over 250 regular volunteers and close to twenty employees.
Gift & Thrift also caters to the stu- dent population. Soon there will be a “G ‘n’ T Boutique” featuring higher-end name brand donations, and every Fri- day between 6 and 8 p.m. there is a 25 percent discount for students.
Junior Aliese Gingerich said, “I like Gift & Thrift. I think that it supports a lot of good ministries. I like that it sup- ports MCC! A few years ago, I made a commitment to buy most of my things secondhand, as I think our society is consumed by over-consumption. The greatest thing about shopping there is that if you find something really cool, it feels ten times cooler because it is second-hand. And it’s cheap!”