Window of Shopping Opportunity

Thursday-only thrift store has been enticing collectors for a half century

Thursday in the house
Elaine McElhinney, Frank McElhinney, Carol Crotty, and Vicki Rives.
Portrait by Rimas Zailskas

While the masses turn to decluttering, donating whole households to charity, savvy collectors are picking up the best pieces. Fans of vintage anything — whether suitcases or salt-and-pepper shakers — are primed more than ever for the thrill of the hunt. When shoppers seek out new-to-them dishes, clothing, or something completely unexpected — a retro Fondue set or an idiosyncratic art piece — a thrift store is likely to have it, and sometimes the best finds are captured at church resale shops. 

Hendersonville just happens to be home to the county’s longest-running church thrift store: The Thursday Thrift Shop at St. James, a ministry of St. James Episcopal Church, has been going strong for an impressive 51 years. As its name suggests, Thursday is the one day it’s open for sales to its fans, who are faithful and legion. “We’ve had close to 50 people waiting before we open some Thursdays,” says store manager Dotty Jacobs, indicating the store’s cult status.

Jacobs oversees a bevy of 50+ volunteers, who are tasked with organizing the donation area, running a repair workshop, and organizing, pricing, and displaying jewelry, clothing for every age group, household goods, and all manner of collectibles. “The only thing we don’t take is electronic equipment, because it’s difficult to guarantee that each item is in working order,” says Jacobs. She adds that they also have a great consignment program. “We pay [out] 70 percent  and keep just 30 percent.

Every cent of the profits from the volunteer-fueled store go out to the community via various outreach organizations, and that makes Jacobs proud. “We have our own board of directors and are cognizant of distributing our support equitably to a diverse group of nonprofits. Last year, we supported 22 with $43,200 in proceeds we earned,” she explains.

The Thursday Thrift Shop welcomes volunteers of all stripes, not just parishioners. “As long as you support what we’re doing, we’d love to have you,” declares Jacobs, as she and her volunteer corps prepare for a first-time-ever weekend store opening to coincide with the church’s long-running Gifts of Hope Holiday Fair. 

Jacobs likens her Thursday Thrift volunteers to a family. “There’s an unbelievable feeling here. I’ve seen people come out of their shells the more they visit, and if we don’t see a regular, some of whom we’ve known for years, we get concerned about whether they’re OK.” 

The Thursday Thrift Shop is located at St. James Episcopal Church, 766 North Main St., Hendersonville. The shop is at the lower North Grove Street back end of the church, and it’s open for sales every Thursday from 9:30am-2pm. For more information, such as the days the store is open to receive donations and consignments, go to stjamesepiscopal.com/community-service/thursday-thrift-shop.html or call 828-693-3865.

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