By: Judi Smith
Elizabeth Guild is the oldest continuous thrift store in Estes Park. Dating back to the early 1970s, they have assisted Estes Valley residents with disposal of unwanted, but still serviceable “stuff”, and purchases that same “stuff” by folks with a use for it. I spoke with Board President Susan Henshaw. Manager David Trabold and two part-time cashiers are joined by 30 volunteers, striving to meet the Guild’s goal of serving with an “attitude of gratitude.” Always looking for additional assistance, Susan said to invite anyone with “spare” time to consider volunteering.
The median age of residents here is now 59 and we are over an hour from other towns with medical facilities. So having a well-equipped local hospital is of immense importance. The profits from The Guild operations support the Estes Park Health Foundation. On Monday, July 22, they delivered a check for $50,000. In addition they do their part for Paint the Town Pink, contributing that donation to the 3D mammogram drive. Over nearly 50 years, the Guild has contributed over four million dollars ($4,000,000) toward medical equipment and education for medical careers in our community. That is a tremendous contribution!
The Guild moved recently into larger quarters, just doors away where they can incorporate Lizzie’s into the same store and still have room to walk down the aisles. Just in time for the August sale of discounted coats and jackets, school clothes, backpacks and school supplies, in itself a benefit to the community. Check it out!
Each month they have more and more donations. The problem, of course, is that they cannot keep everything. Storage space is limited. Please do not bring items that are not clean, need repair, or simply have outlived their useful life. Also do not bring large furniture or appliances. They do not accept electronics including TVs and computers. Mattresses, baby items, or medical equipment and supplies are prohibited by law, yet drop-offs still appear on the security cameras. There are other ways to recycle.
Each evening the volunteers clear out all bins, sending hi-end, brand name items and collectibles to Lizzie’s Boutique; saving holiday décor and other appropriate items for the Holiday House on Thanksgiving weekend; and placing salable items (subject to space) on the sales floor. They receive an abundance of clothing, but would love to have additional home accent pieces, small furniture and things such as tools, gloves, and accessories for hime improvement, vehicle repair, gardening, DIY projects, or barbeque. Also safety glasses, hardware, and hardhats.
The more difficult step is to find places to take things that they cannot sell here. Thus, they have been expanding recycling and “passing on” methods. Eighty percent (80%) of unsellable (here) items are redirected to others who can use them. They donate perfectly good clothing that will not sell here, to a Reservation in Wyoming, They have USAgain containers for unsellable clothing. (There are also some by Dollar General and by the Community Center.) They take bags of of leftovers to the Goodwill stores on the Front Range. And they work together with Viillage Thrift Shop as well, sharing ways to recycle things they cannot use. Working together we accomplish so much more!
Before the move, the lack of space was also becoming an issue for the public as each year they drew record numbers of shoppers! In part, this is because the populace has become aware that shopping in thrift stores is not only easy on the bank account, but also of immense benefit to the Earth as it avoids packaging, transporting, and manufacturing (as well as disposing) contributions to greenhouse gases.
So, do your part-go thrift shopping once a month! Remember, the more you buy, the more space they have, the more they can accept, and the more they can contribute!