2008-01-03 / Front Page

New management breathing life into St. Vincent de Paul thrift store

By Thomas Reznich

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.

HOLIDAY DEALS Shoppers (left to right) Debbie Brown of St. Helen and Lori Gancitano of Houghton Lake fill up their carts with bargains during a recent shopping trip to the St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store in Prudenville. Both shoppers commented on improvements in the look of the store, its merchandise and the many sale priced items available. HOLIDAY DEALS Shoppers (left to right) Debbie Brown of St. Helen and Lori Gancitano of Houghton Lake fill up their carts with bargains during a recent shopping trip to the St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store in Prudenville. Both shoppers commented on improvements in the look of the store, its merchandise and the many sale priced items available. 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.

STARTING WITH PRAYER St. Vincent de Paul Society volunteers and employees begin a recent work day at the Prudenville thrift store with prayer. Store Manager Bud Domurath said volunteers of many faiths come together to do service for the community through the ecumenical organization. Pictured (left to right) are Bob and Mary Brotebeck, Kathy Camp, Rick Lewis, Amy Holtman, Jerry Andrews, Jim Green, Carol Schatz, Bud and Roxanne Domurath. STARTING WITH PRAYER St. Vincent de Paul Society volunteers and employees begin a recent work day at the Prudenville thrift store with prayer. Store Manager Bud Domurath said volunteers of many faiths come together to do service for the community through the ecumenical organization. Pictured (left to right) are Bob and Mary Brotebeck, Kathy Camp, Rick Lewis, Amy Holtman, Jerry Andrews, Jim Green, Carol Schatz, Bud and Roxanne Domurath. Volunteers are now averag- ing 22 hours per week and work with eight paid employees, who also put in volunteer hours.

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.

CHECKING AND SORTING Volunteer Mike DiPirro checks and sorts telephone wires in his shop at the store. DiPirro, who is retired from the cutting tool industry, uses his expertise to test and repair electrical items before they are put out on the shelves. CHECKING AND SORTING Volunteer Mike DiPirro checks and sorts telephone wires in his shop at the store. DiPirro, who is retired from the cutting tool industry, uses his expertise to test and repair electrical items before they are put out on the shelves. 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.

SHARING A LAUGH Volunteers (left to right) Mary Brotebeck and Roxanne Domurath share a laugh during their work day at the St. Vincent De Paul thrift store. A busier, more up-beat atmosphere is evident both for workers and customers at the store. "It's just ziggity-boom around here," said Domurath. SHARING A LAUGH Volunteers (left to right) Mary Brotebeck and Roxanne Domurath share a laugh during their work day at the St. Vincent De Paul thrift store. A busier, more up-beat atmosphere is evident both for workers and customers at the store. "It's just ziggity-boom around here," said Domurath. A new client services area apart from the main store provides a setting where clients can discuss their needs in privacy, and a new client services phone line has been added

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

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2008-01-03 digital edition