PTA Thrift Shop opens new building; same objective

Bargain hunters all over the area will be relieved to know that the doors to the PTA Thrift Shop are once again open. These doors are brand new, and so is the rest of the building.

Katherine Ellis makes her selection from the book section of the PTA Thrift Shop, a donation-based store raising money for the community schools. (Staff photo by Trey Fowler)
Katherine Ellis makes her selection from the book section of the PTA Thrift Shop, a donation-based store raising money for the community schools. (Staff photo by Trey Fowler)

The PTA Thrift Shop was first established in 1952 and now serves 20 schools in both Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The store acquired its current home at 103 Jones Ferry Road in 1979.

After nearly a year of construction, the new building features three stories, with the bottom floor serving as a donation center, the second floor being a retail area and the top floor acting as a rental space offered to the school system. The store reopened on December 2, 2013.

Matt Pennachi, the director of community relations for the PTA Thrift Shop, said the new building was designed to make accepting donations much more efficient.

“The donation process is a lot easier. All donation storage is indoors on that bottom floor,” said Pennachi, “In years past we used to have to take donations outside in the back and when rainstorms would come up we would often lose merchandise.”

Katherine Sanford, a cashier at the store for the past six years, said she liked working at the old building but appreciates the features of the new building saying, “The new building is good because it has more space and the lighting is much better.”

The PTA Thrift Shop building, located on Jones Ferry Road, just re-opened for business.(Staff photo by Trey Fowler)
The PTA Thrift Shop building, located on Jones Ferry Road, just re-opened for business.(Staff photo by Trey Fowler)

Pennachi added that the PTA Thrift Shop’s goal is to raise store revenues through increased sales and other revenue opportunities such as the rental space on the top floor. This is becoming even more important as the revenues from donations are spread over a growing number of schools in the area.

“(The schools) were looking for space anyway,” said Pennachi, “So they rent from us and in return that rental revenue flows back to the school system as part of our end of the year donation.”

Alexander Payan, a 23-year-old Chapel Hill resident, said he’s been shopping at the store for over four years.

“The new building looks awesome inside and out,” Payan said, “Everything is easier to find and there seems to be a lot more room.”

The building was paid for by a combination of bank loans and community fundraising, which raised over $500,000.

Where the old building featured merchandise scattered across the front lawn during business hours, the new building features a paved sidewalk with names on several of the bricks. For a $500 donation, a group or individual can have a personal message or name on one of the bricks and become a PTA Thrift Shop WayFinder Giving Partner.

On Friday, Jan. 31, the PTA Thrift Shop celebrated its 62nd birthday by hosting a fundraising event at Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery featuring live music. Pennachi said this was the third birthday celebration for the store and that it has become an annual event due to past fundraising success.

According to the store’s website, local schools have used the money from the PTA Thrift Shop to purchase many things including playgrounds, science supplies, computer hardware and software, cultural enrichment programs, field trips, sports equipment and uniforms.

The store accepts high quality donations from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and is open for business during those same hours.

 

 

http://ptathriftshop.org/home.shtml

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Author of the article

Trey is a journalism student at UNC-Chapel Hill and writer-photographer for the Carrboro Commons.