New management breathing life into St. Vincent de Paul thrift store
New management and a new sense of vitality and purpose have brought both volunteers and customers back to the St. Vincent De Paul thrift store in Prudenville, with further change promising even better service to the community in 2008.
Store Manager Bud Domurath, who took over the reigns in October along with new President Rosy Dominguez and Assistant Store Manager Jim Green, said a decrease in both customers and volunteer participation has been turned around. He said that in October, 36 volunteers worked 900 hours and in November 42 volunteers put in 850. In November, the organization provided $8,955 in assistance to needy clients.
Domurath, who noted that the St. Vincent De Paul Society is an ecumenical service organization with volunteers of many different faiths working together, said the store "is a warm, friendly place to do service for the community." He said churches and faiths represented in the current roster of volunteers includes Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Mormon and Jewish, and that anyone who wants to help is welcome.
The employees and volunteers have spent their time cleaning and re-organizing the store, bringing out more stock, lowering prices and making other changes which have been well received by customers, donors and clients which come to the charitable organization for assistance.
Domurath said although prices have been lowered, increased business and sales have brought in much more money for the organization's charitable work. The donation process has also been revamped to make donating easier and especially more convenient, with donation pick-up service tailored to the donor's schedule and situation as much as possible.
Store hours were expanded as of Jan. 2, 2008, with the store and client services now open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 to 6 Friday and 10 to 3 Saturday.
Resources that were not being utilized in the past, such as surplus clothing which is either not in salable condition or is not needed by the store, are now a source of income. Domurath said that the wearable clothes are baled and sent to areas around the US and around the world where they are needed and the rest are sold to recycling operations.
366-5011). Also in the works is a joint effort with Roscommon County Habitat for Humanity to construct a new cafe, which will link the store's two sales floors and provide a place for shoppers and clients to have a place to sit and relax as well as enjoy a cup of coffee or a sandwich at a nominal price.
There has also been an increase in cooperation between the Prudenville and West Branch conferences and the Roscommon Council, which has also resulted in more efficiency and better allocation of resources.
"I can hardly wait to come in," said volunteer Mary Brotebeck. She and her husband Bob had served as volunteers for 13 years before a decline in the store caused them to quit in frustration two years ago. Now that they have returned, she said "it's more like we want to help the needy, that's what it's all about."
Domurath said the St. Vincent de Paul Society Conference in Prudenville is also looking into the creation of a homeless shelter, and combined campus for private service agencies in the area, either on property next to the store or at the Prudenville School building, which was closed after the 2005-2006 school year.
Response from the community, both as customers and volunteers, has been overwhelmingly positive so far. Especially popular with customers have been frequent sales on seasonal and overstocked items. "We're not trying to make a lot of money (on the donated merchandise)," said Domurath, "we're trying to move the stuff and provide service to the community." Photos by Thomas Reznich