Community Thrift Store Christmas In July Huge Success
7/27/2021 ~ by Suellen Reitz, CTS Special Events Coordinator
It was beginning to look at lot like Christmas last Saturday behind the Pickens Community Thrift Store during their first annual Christmas In July event. The heat, humidity and threat of rain didn’t sway the bargain hunters who found treasures throughout the day as they forged through the massive display of everything Christmas. And even though it was hot…everyone was in a festive spirit.
General Manager Terry Bishop, affectionately known as “Sarge”, was very pleased with the outcome. “The combined sales of indoors and outside were fantastic. God really blessed us here today,” he said with a huge smile. “But I believe it would have been a success even if we didn’t make a dime. Because it wasn’t just about money. This was all about bringing the community together and doing something fun for them.”
For the serious bargain hunters, the shopping alone was easily a fun experience. But that was just the start of it…Children were thrilled to meet Santa in his “summer attire” and many posed for a picture after they got their special gift and candy cane. I even saw some senior “kids at heart” posing for a Santa memory photo. The corn hole bean bag toss boards and ladder ball games were seldom idle and giggles were a plenty coming out of the blow up bouncing tent.
Members of Sequoyah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Ruth House and American Legion Post 149 had displays for any interested to learn more of their organization. Next year we hope to have every nonprofit group represented to share their purpose.
Honest Abe (aka Homer S. Sewell III) was there in costume greeting others with his ready smile and country drawl. And don’t forget about the music! Lively Christmas tunes were on speaker in-between the two music groups; Glory Bound Quartet and Stuck In Right Field. Both had familiar tunes that found us tapping our foot, singing along… and at times dancing a bit!
The free cook out lunch of dogs and beans were enjoyed by all as they waited patiently for the numerous drawings for our fabulous door prizes that were offered every half hour. Wrapped gifts selected by our volunteers along with fabulous donations by our local businesses made lots of folks extra happy.
A big thanks out to Rooster’s Market, Angel Babies Boutique, Sackets, Rocco’s, Old Fashioned Barber Shop, Great Clips, 61 Main, Tater Patch Players, and Abe Lincoln & Mary Todd reenactors for their generous gift contributions. Also a big thanks to CARES, Coco-Cola Bottling Co., and Cherokee Outlet for the food and drink donations. All of our great advertising supporters get a high five and thanks for getting the word out, including: Chamber of Commerce, Community Bank of Pickens, ETC TV, Know Pickens, WYYZ radio and Pickens Progress. Lastly, but first in importance is all of the wonderful kind hearted and supportive volunteers that worked countless hours preparing and working throughout the day. Without these great contributions from everyone, the thrift store could not have put together the day of fun.
We wanted everyone to really enjoy the day and have full opportunity to win one of the many prizes, so it was decided you did not need to be there to win. Many of the winning ticket holders got their call yesterday. Everyone was so excited and pleased. It wasn’t what they were winning… it was more about the win itself.
To add to the profits and excitement of winning possibilities everyone had a free ticket with the opportunity to buy more or earn more with the amount of purchase. Several took advantage of that and there were numerous winners of multiple prizes. But one shopper stood out from the rest.
There was an older woman who was there to get tickets as soon as we set up and she stayed throughout the day. She wasn’t with anyone, but didn’t seem to mind. I saw her each time I called the winning tickets look through her pile. Sometimes she won. Each gift was one of the wrapped “mystery gifts”. I started to tease her jokingly as her name came up again and again…
“You need to buy me a lottery ticket!” I said with a laugh. She just smiled and chose another gift. As we were closing down, I went to her and asked what had she won. She told me she didn’t know… she was saving her five special gifts to go under the tree… that way she knew she would have something to open.
Her words touched my heart. At that moment, I knew the day was indeed a blessing from God. The Pickens Community Thrift Store is all about giving back, helping those in need and assisting through our many charity organizations throughout Pickens. Our lucky lady guest who took home five wrapped gifts felt that blessing too.
Volunteers are what makes our thrift store work. We do it because we love our community. If you feel that sort of love, come join us. We’re a big family working together making Pickens County the best it can be.