Nevada County’s thrift stores move ahead with reopening | TheUnion.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Nevada County’s thrift stores move ahead with reopening

By the numbers

As of May 21

Nevada County

Number of COVID-19 cases: 41

Number tested: 2,189

Number in western county: 12

Number in eastern county: 29

Number of active cases: zero

Number of recoveries: 40

Number of deaths: 1

Learn more at http://www.theunion.com/coronavirus

A dozen thrift stores that support myriad nonprofit organizations throughout Nevada County have been on hiatus for two months.

These nonprofits rely heavily on the revenue generated by reselling donations to support their programs, which span the gamut from animal rescue to diabetes support. Most say, however, that reserves kept them afloat during the shutdown and many already have reopened — with limited hours — now that Nevada County is in the state-approved Phase 2.

One of the first to throw open its doors was Sweet Life Thrift, which opened Saturday for a first trial. Founder Carolyn Maginot said it will then be open from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Maginot invested in several canopy tents that she set up outside in the parking lot with markings for social distancing.

Support Local Journalism


“We’re doing OK because we had some reserves, but eventually we would run out of money.”Cheryl Wicks, Sammie’s Friends

“We have put a lot of merchandise outside on racks, our dollar racks and discount racks,” she said. “That took a lot of stuff outside the store — there is plenty of room out there.”

Sweet Life is limiting customers inside the store to six at a time, and they are being asked to distance themselves in the small rooms.

“Everybody has to wear a mask; it is not negotiable,” Maginot said. “We have masks available for a $2 donation. Because we are a diabetes (support) thrift store and they have a higher risk of complications, it just doesn’t make any sense (to let) people to come in without a mask.”

Sweet Life did cut back its hours of operation because it has lost several volunteers, Maginot said.

“We’re lucky, our overhead is low,” she added. “Hopefully, we’ll get a lot of people in. … If it wasn’t for the thrift store, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. One hundred percent of our net proceeds goes to diabetes assistance. … Fortunately, we had a good reserve of funds so we could make our expenses.”

Hospice of the Foothills — which maintains thrift stores in Nevada City, Grass Valley and Penn Valley, along with a warehouse where donations are sorted — reopened just one of its stores Wednesday. The Nevada City location will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, while the warehouse will open Wednesdays and Thursdays, for now. The number of customers will be limited, face masks will be required, social distancing rules will be in place and customers will have their temperatures checked via infrared thermometer prior to admittance. Anyone with a fever of higher than 100 degrees will not be admitted. Donations will be pulled from vehicles and then will be “quarantined” for five days before processing.

Executive Director Viv Tipton spent a large part of the day Tuesday training with staff.

“We got some real clear guidelines on how to sanitize,” she said. “We anticipate the desire (to shop) will be greater than our capacity, but we’re comfortable dipping our toes in the water.”

Hospice is requiring customers wear masks because it is a health care organization, Tipton said.

“As a stakeholder in health care. We want to be on the very conservative edge of that,” she said. “We know a mask will keep people safer, so we are making that requirement. We have gotten a little bit of pushback, but we are comfortable with that decision.”

That said, Tipton added, if infection numbers stay flat as people start to move about more freely, Hospice might ease up on its restrictions.

The revenue generated by the thrift stores is “incredible,” Tipton said, adding that they also provide a great recycling service and help get the Hospice name out to the public.

Tipton estimated the stores will bring in a net of $250,000 this year.

“It is amazing” how much this community supports its thrift stores, she said. “It’s actually a beautiful way to support the community. A lot of the thrift stores in this community do really well. From our perspective, it’s pretty nice.”

‘A PRETTY SIZABLE CHUNK’

Both Sammie’s Friends and AnimalSave estimated their thrift stores account for about 30 to 40% of their revenue.

AnimalSave has reopened its thrift store and bookstore from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, limiting numbers and requiring masks, and closing early for deep cleaning.

“We had to develop a plan and do training to make sure we are doing this in a safe way for our volunteers and staff and clients,” said Executive Director Carolyn Niehaus. “We are sorting out how this will work, practically.

“It’s a whole different ball game for everybody, but we’re happy to be reopening because it is a good source of our revenue to carry out the programs we run, the spay/neuter clinic and rescue and adoption programs. The net income from those two operations cover about 30% of all our program costs, so that is a pretty sizable chunk of money for us.”

Sammie’s Nifty Thrifty Shop reopened last Friday and, said Sammie’s Friends founder Cheryl Wicks, the line was out the door that first day.

“Everybody was extremely polite and pleasant; no one got annoyed,” she said. “It seems like we’re back in business.”

The store is closing an hour early for now, Wicks said, so that an end-of-day deep cleaning can take place.

Wicks estimated about 40% of her budget — which funds shelter operations as well as spaying and neutering, and helps with veterinary bills — comes from the thrift store.

“It is a big source of revenue,” she said. “We’re doing OK because we had some reserves, but eventually we would run out of money. Financially we think we’re going to be OK.”

Rescue For Pet Sake plans to open its thrift store for the first time Friday. It will then be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Most of its merchandise will be in the parking lot, said founder Pamela Gorman. Only two or three people at a time will be allowed inside the small store.

“It will be a process and we will have to adapt,” she said. “We want to make sure everybody is safe.”

Gorman said her shoestring operation has been strapped since the shutdown, even though she is as frugal as possible.

“Our donations are way down,” she said. “The store actually provides (funding) over and above our bills. … I can’t believe we’ve been able to stay open … We do need funds.”

MORE IN THIS SERIES

Nevada County animal rescue groups see surge in fosters, adoptions

Possible postponement, cancellation of Nevada County Fair would negatively impact several Nevada County nonprofits

Feeding Nevada County: Effort to help those hungry bolstered by partnerships between nonprofits (VIDEO)

‘Do you have reserves?’ Still much uncertainty over how nonprofits will fare in coming months, years

Government business continues in isolation during COVID-19 pandemic

Nevada County, cities collaborate to reopen safely

Wildfire prep in Nevada County continues virtually during pandemic

‘This is why we signed up’: Librarian, homeless shelter manager continue working during pandemic

Financial aid offers much-needed relief in western Nevada County for those who can get it

Grass Valley trims staff in response to COVID-19 shutdown

Nevada County: Staffing, service reductions not yet needed

Nevada County property tax on par despite pandemic

Nevada County health workers say they currently have sufficient supply of personal protective equipment

Hospice of the Foothills continues providing end-of-life care during COVID-19 crisis

Senior care facilities on lockdown during COVID-19 pandemic

Residents of Nevada County senior living communities staying connected

‘Continue to plan and prepare’: Hospital analyzes finances, anticipates federal funding to ensure financial stability

Nurses in Nevada County and the region talk about why they love their jobs

Nevada County not planning to release more detailed COVID-19 case data

Officials: Testing is key in calls to reopen in Nevada County, across California

Nevada County doctors change approach to providing care due to COVID-19

The trifecta: Public health experts recommend testing, contact tracing and supported isolation to phase into a reopened world

Investigating the impact: Lack of revenue, uncertain return date causes concern for arts and entertainment venues

Impacts of Idaho-Maryland mine to be revealed soon

Nevada County artists discuss how COVID-19 shutdown has affected them

‘The arts are essential’: Center for the Arts launches emergency relief fund

Real estate sales strong in Nevada County despite challenges

No slowdown seen in Nevada County construction industry despite COVID-19 lockdown

Nevada County government, home improvement and real estate representatives talk business during COVID-19

‘I’d like to place an order’: In light of COVID-19, the demand for home delivery services in Nevada County is at an all-time high

Grass Valley, Nevada City first to feel COVID-19 economic hit

See you soon? Small business owners struggle, but are hopeful for a brighter tomorrow in Nevada County

Nevada County businesses struggle navigating economic relief

Nevada County health care providers pivot on financial tight rope

‘A sudden and dramatic downturn’: Nevada County economy will be hurt for longtime following coronavirus slowdown, expert says

‘A recession, let alone a depression’: Western Nevada County businesses apply for federal loans, but most have yet to receive money

Nevada County businesses, governments, nonprofits navigate uncertain times, worry what’s ahead

RELATED RESOURCES

http://www.TheUnion.com/coronavirus

http://www.MyNevadaCounty.com/coronavirus

Coronavirus Guidance for Businesses/Employers

Nevada County Relief Fund for Covid-19

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 

Connect with needs and opportunities from

Get immediate access to organizations and people in our area that need your help or can provide help during the Coronavirus crisis.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User