SVDP opens fifth thrift store in St. Louis area

Sid Hastings

The St. Vincent de Paul Society has opened its fifth thrift store in the St. Louis area amid a booming popularity in thrifting.

The new store opened earlier this month at 3924 Lemay Ferry Road in south St. Louis County. The store features clothing, household items, toys and furniture in a 14,000 square-foot showroom. A grand opening is planned for late June. Store hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. All of the society's thrift stores are closed on Sundays.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society also operates thrift stores in Dellwood, St. Charles, Ballwin and south St. Louis City. Jerry Orzano, director of stores, noted that in 2012 those four locations served more than 250,000 customers and sold 1.2 million units of merchandise. In addition to a regular stream of donations dropped off at all locations, the society's four trucks also picked up goods from approximately 8,500 donors last year.

St. Vincent de Paul also donates some of its merchandise to those in need through its voucher program, which is operated through more than 140 parish conferences. Last year, more than $200,000 in merchandise was given to those in need via the voucher program. Orzano stressed that while the stores help the poor, they are also meant for the general public. The sales revenue is used to support the society's numerous programs and services, he said.

The society participates in a program that recycles unusable items donated to the stores. Items such as clothing, metals, electronics, plastics and paper products are sold by the pound to outside vendors, and the earned revenue is used for those in need. In 2013 alone, the society will earn nearly $200,000 from recycled materials.

In 2012, more than 625,000 pounds of unsellable clothing and shoes and approximately 345,000 pounds of metals, electronics and books were sold. "We're approaching a million pounds of recycled goods, just from our four little stores," said Orzano. "We were doing a tenth of this three years ago."

Orzano noted that more than 650 regular volunteers help staff the stores, and more help is always needed. Volunteers especially are needed on evenings and weekends.

• For more information on volunteering, call Barb Reddington at (314) 881-6042 or apply online at www.svdpstlouis.org/how-to-help/volunteer-your-time.

• For more information on the other locations, including directions and hours of operation, visit www.svdpstlouis.org/thrift-stores.

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