Manager Debra Glick King ’77, MBA ’12, is second from left in front of Gift & Thrift in Harrisonburg, Officials with the businesses held a groundbreaking ceremony March 15 to celebrate an upcoming $3.8 million expansion project at their 731 Mount Clinton Pike location. (EMU photo)

Gift and Thrift and Booksavers, managed by alumna Deb King, set for $3.8M expansion

Gift & Thrift and Booksavers of Virginia, the reclaimed goods stores benefiting Mennonite Central Committee, are about to grow.

Officials with the businesses held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning to celebrate an upcoming $3.8 million expansion project at their 731 Mount Clinton Pike location.

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Volunteers Helen Minnick (left) of Linville and Betty Perry of Harrisonburg price items at the Gift & Thrift Shop in Harrisonburg. A $3.8 million expansion and renovation project is planned for the building that holds the shop and Booksavers of Virginia. (Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R) By Daily News-Record

Deb King, general manager of Harrisonburg Gift & Thrift Shop Inc. — which includes Booksavers and neighboring fair-trade retailer Artisans’ Hope under its umbrella — said the project should add about 8,000 square feet of space to the approximately 19,000-square-foot former Ray Carr Tire building. [Read more about Debra Glick King ’77, MBA ’12, and the charitable businesses she manages in this 2014 Crossroads article.]

Much of the existing structure will be renovated, too, she added.

When the project’s completed, King said the building should have approximately 4,000 square feet of additional retail space for Gift & Thrift’s clothing and furniture inventory, more shelves and seating for Booksavers, and perhaps even a small coffee bar.

“We really have high hopes,” she said.

Employees and volunteers also will have more space to process furniture, which might lead to more availability on the floor, as well as an improved breakroom. Work on the project, designed by Blue Ridge Architects and to be built by Lantz Construction, is expected to begin once final permits have been received, King said.

Construction is expected to last a year. The building likely won’t need to close during the project, but its retail space probably will be condensed at times.

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Jim Rush, Cecil Grove (middle) and Ben Risser, Sr. sort books at Gift & Thrift. (Photo by Nikki Fox/Daily News-Record)

Harrisonburg Gift & Thrift Shop Inc. owns its building and the neighboring structure that houses Artisans’ Hope, A Bowl of Good, Everence Federal Credit Union, a Mennonite Central Committee office and a community room groups can rent. When it bought the Ray Carr Tire building in 2003, King said, the company paid off the note in 2½ years via a fundraising effort and profits.

The neighboring building, which opened in 2009, should be paid off by the end of next year from rent and a portion of sales revenue. Gift & Thrift alone fell about $1,000 short of $1 million in sales last year, King said. The combined revenue from the three businesses and rent collected from tenants, she said, has allowed the organization to net about $600,000 each of the last three to four years.

Half that money has been used to pay down building debt, with the rest provided to MCC in support of its global relief efforts. Gift & Thrift bales and sells in bulk some clothing it doesn’t have room to display or can’t sell, she said. The expansion will allow more of that inventory to hit the floor, perhaps with more bargain sales.

“We’re trying to figure out a way to bale less clothing,” King said. “We only get 6 cents a pound for baled clothing.” The three businesses have 11 full- and 12 part-time employees and about 250 people who regularly volunteer.

Editor’s note: The  (L)Earn a Bike program, also called “restorative justice on two wheels,” was started by King and Ben Bailey ’12, along with several other EMU alumni and community members, and is also housed at Gift & Thrift.

Reprinted with permission from the Daily News-Record, March 16, 2016.

Discussion on “Gift and Thrift and Booksavers, managed by alumna Deb King, set for $3.8M expansion

  1. I am sooooooooo excited for The Gift and Thrift. You’ve come along way and I’ve enjoyed being a shopper and watching all the great happen over the past 12+ years. You are the best thrift store in the Shenandoah valley for sure. Keep up the great work and all you do for some many!

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