Plenty of things have changed over the past 10 years since the Boys and Girls Club Resale Shop first opened its doors, but one thing that remains the same is the community's strong support for the nonprofit thrift store.
Judging by the amount of people in the store on a recent weekday morning seeking and finding holiday bargains as well as the usual items for sale, that support will likely not slow down anytime soon.
"I am so thankful for the community's support," said Lisa Steward, who opened the shop at its original location on East Leon Street on Dec. 2, 2011. Since then, the store has expanded and relocated to 1706 E. Main St. Sam and Nancy Golden are credited with helping enable the club to move to its current spot.
While Coryell County residents are the store's most frequent customers, its reach goes far beyond local boundaries.
"We have people who come from as far as Bryan to bring us stuff, and from Waco, Hamilton, Lampasas and Temple," Steward said. "There are people who shop here from as far away as Dallas, and they've told us they time their visits through the area to make sure we're open."
Paula Adkins said there are many out-of-town customers who combine their appointments at Scott & White Hospital in Temple with visits to the Resale Shop.
The shop has transformed the way the Boys & Girls Club of Gatesville has been able to operate thanks to a steady and reliable income.
"We used to have multiple fundraisers for the club and it still wasn't enough," Steward said. "Now, we don't have any other fundraisers. This store has been able to provide for the club. We started out giving $10,000 a month to the club, and now we're able to give $15,000.
"As of Oct. 31, 2021, the shop has generated more than $1 million for the club," Steward said. "It has also helped pay for the sport court in the club's activity building, the mortgage on that building, and other club needs. Thanks to our volunteers, our donors and our loyal customers, the shop will be able to continue providing an income to the club for many years to come."
The Resale Shop also has some items that are not displayed in the store, but are marketed online. This includes unique items such as a banjo dating from the 1920s.
"We get a lot of things that we don't even know are valuable, and sometimes customers will let us know," Adkins said.
Those items are sometimes put in a closed display case that lets customers know they are more rare or unusual selections.
When the shop started, it was open two days a week and had one employee, Wanda Shelton. The store is now open five days a week - from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. There are now 15 paid employees at 17 volunteers, and Steward said more volunteers are welcome, but they must make a commitment.
"If someone wants to volunteer, we appreciate that but we need them to be committed long-term," she said. "We have to train people, and that takes time, so we need to make sure they are going to stick around. It can be hard work and time consuming, but for those who like to serve it's very rewarding."
The store features a variety of items, and because new donations come in frequently, the store inventory is constantly changing. Bargain hunters can nearly always find something worthwhile. On a recent day one woman who collects old books raved about the selection available, and said she visits the store at least once a week to find different items in the store.
Others had baskets filled with Christmas holiday decor priced at a fraction of what people would pay for new items.
"We sell name-brand clothing for $4 per item," Steward said. "We also sell a lot of clothes of lesser quality for $1 per item. Each month we change the color of our price tags. Items with the previous month's color tags are reduced in price throughout the month until they are only 25 cents the last week of the month.
"We put out new items every day we are open so it's fun for our customers to come back again and again."
Many of the items which aren't sold are donated to various organizations, including the Care Center, the Gatesville Senior Center, veterinary clinics, the Gatesville school district, Woodman State Jail, Hillside Nursing Home and The Meadows, Steward said.
The shop's volunteers spend several hours often working behind the scenes "sorting clothes, shoes and household items, cleaning donations, organizing the warehouse, pricing items and displaying them in the shop, caring for the outside of the building and grounds, hauling off and recycling items that can't be sold at the shop and anything else that needs to be done," Steward said.
"It's a labor of love. We get an awful lot of joy knowing we are making a big difference in our community."
The Resale Shop started partnering with the Hill Country Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in 2017, which tracks volunteer hours and uses that data to apply for community grants.
While all shoppers are welcome, Steward said cash payments are especially appreciated because the shop is charged a fee for debit and credit card transactions which it is not currently passing on to the customers.m For October, accepting credit and debit card payments actually cost the shop $612.
A mid-November report notes that October 2021 was the second best all-time for monthly sales at the shop (the best month was July 2021). Sales for both of those months exceeded $49,000.
The shop will close at noon today (Nov. 24) and reopen at 8 a.m. Friday. The store will also close at noon Dec. 24 and reopen at 8 a.m. Jan. 4.
While the store is closed, Steward said, staff and volunteers will work to catch up in their departments. Steward said it is requested that people not leave donations at the store the week that it is closed.
For more information, visit the Resale Shop's Facebook page @BoysGirlsClubResaleShop or call 254-248-1250. Those interested in online sales can visit the shop's Facebook page @bgcresaleshop1