Gift & Thrift Store In City Turns 30

Sales, Donations Keep Growing

Posted: October 6, 2012

Karen Smith looks through items at Gift & Thrift on Tuesday afternoon. Smith said she donates to the store and shops there. Gift & Thrift is celebrating its 30th anniversary. (Photo by Stephen Mitchell / DN-R)

HARRISONBURG — Ringing up $1,000 in sales was considered a “phenomenal” day when Gift & Thrift moved to its current location eight years ago, staff members and volunteers recall.

Today, business is considered to be slow if a week goes by without at least a couple of $3,000 days, general manager Deb King said.

More sales mean more opportunities for the nonprofit organization — which celebrates 30 years in Harrisonburg this month — to further spread its mission of supporting the Mennonite Central Committee.

Gift & Thrift donated nearly $300,000 to MCC in 2011 and could surpass that threshold this year, King said.

Relocating from a cramped storefront downtown to a 9,000-square-foot space on Mount Clinton Pike in 2004 has helped to spark consistent growth, she added.

“It really opened up the store to a broader footprint as far as customers,” King said. “It’s tripled or quadrupled sales.”

Gift & Thrift includes the thrift store, Artisans’ Hope and Booksavers of Virginia. All are clustered together near Eastern Mennonite University.

The entities employ 19 people, including eight full-timers, double the number from when King arrived in 2005.

But volunteers continue to provide the backbone, with more than 250 people regularly donating about three hours per week to sort clothing, fix furniture, test electronics and help out elsewhere.

Gift & Thrift’s donations to the MCC — totaling almost $3 million since 1982 — help support global relief, development and peace-building efforts.

Contact Doug Manners at    574-6293 or


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