CENTAVO’S TWO CENTS
It is a sad day. My favorite pair of jeans has refused to fit me. No matter how hard I try to pry myself into them. We have been together for a long time. Now it seems “fitting” to sadly deliver them to a place where they can be worn and loved by someone…ok…I will say it….”skinnier”.
Many women here have had the luxury of very nice clothing, brand labels. It takes a long time to part with items that look good on us. We have to talk ourselves out of things. Especially clothing that is hanging in our bulging closets, waiting for the moment to be worn again. Clothing and shoes don’t talk. But all those years ago they distinctly said, “You look hot darling!” when you gazed into your full-length mirror. Right? The word “hot” faded into some other word as time meandered viciously around your aging body. The word “seriously?…” comes to mind. Yeah? Right.
Fortunately for me and all those other women (and men!), about three years ago a group of women living here had an idea. Every once in a while the female gender needs what has been called “retail therapy”…yes even in our little village. Women just have to go look at clothes, shoes, linens, often. Even if they don’t buy anything, it just makes them feel good. The group’s idea was to open a really nice resale store, so they drew up a plan, recruited five daytime managers, found a suitable location, donated their own time, labor, and money for start-up costs, and opened Second Chance, a 100% volunteer- and donation-based resale store. All items in the store are donated and all proceeds after meeting expenses are “paid forward” to the community.
At first, Second Chance donated all of its proceeds to VIVA [Volunteers for Indigent and Vulnerable Animals], to help with its spay and neuter and education programs. At the end of its first year, Second Chance realized it was far more successful than it had ever imagined, and the decision was made to share its good fortune not only with VIVA but with other local causes and organizations. Some of those include the Cancer Society, Cruz Roja, Volunteers Without Limits, C.A.M., K.O.Hambre, San Felipe United, both orphanages, and the San Felipe Rowing Team. It can be said that Second Chance is really making a difference!
One of Second Chance’s managers speaks to me in a back room where every item is meticulously checked, hung up, and made ready for sale. Donations of items come in regularly and they must be dealt with. Volunteers take button replacement and simple sewing needs home. Efficiency is paramount and from my view things get done fast. Some clothing and household items not appropriate for Second Chance will be sent to other organizations such as Volunteers Without Limits or to other local segundas. It is unusual to have to throw things away. People who are donating understand that everything should be clean and gently used.
It is volunteers that keep the shop new and lively. It is volunteers that keep the clothes, shoes, and small household items neatly stacked and displayed. Racks, shelves, and tables have been either donated or built. Most maintenance and repairs are done by the enthusiastic husband of one of the managers. The volunteers here seem to be having all the fun. Really. I am told that and I imagine it is true.
Second Chance has morphed into a place where everything that was once old is new again to someone else. It has become a very social place. The community walks in and out with lovely things.
Prices are pleasingly low. This was done deliberately to encourage a quick turnover of items and to entice everyone in this village to consider shopping here. It is catching on. Local shoppers tell their friends the drive out from town is worth it. It is tempting for them to keep the place secret.
Very reasonable price lists hang on the walls. You need not ask for more discounts because you can’t do any better without feeling guilty.
Let me give you examples: Dresses, jackets, and swimwear list at $6.00 per item. Sweaters and tops, a mere $5.00…shorts $4.00.
The managers of Second Chance know the value of good marketing and display. Right now it’s Christmas in the store…and yes, there are Christmas items to buy.
A local artist who used one of the manager’s clever designs painted the outside of the building. This has made finding the store easy… and has brought in many more customers. In fact, it has motivated other shop owners to “dress up” the outside of their buildings as well. All the colors of the buildings are delightful as you drive into our wonderful town.
There is nothing like going to a place of comfort. It is a wonderful store to try things on in private. Delectable fragrance fills the air, jewelry sparkles and shoes beg you to try them Go ahead…you deserve it.
There are many stories to be told here. I will keep you posted on those later. Just know that your money will go far here and a lovely present of love will cost little.
I could be sad about my jeans. But they will belong to someone else… all good.
Centavo’s Wise Words: If the shoe fits… try another pair on!
SECOND CHANCE could be your best chance!