I love to shop.
I love helping people.
These activities are polar opposites in that the first is entirely for me, and the second is entirely for other people, but I have a favorite local store where these two loves of mine overlap.
I am not a slave to fashion, but what girl doesn’t like having nice things to wear? People notice nice stuff, too! My friend recently complimented my fitted brown slacks from Banana Republic, my assistant admired my blue velvet blazer from New York and Company and last Sunday, my son said my True Religion jeans were cool. And when I came home with a brand new Abercrombie and Fitch “Authentic Vintage” winter jacket my daughter couldn’t wait to borrow it! And to think, I bought them all from a local thrift store called The Discovery Shop run by the American Cancer Society. “A Unique Quality Resale Experience” is what the tag line says, and unlike many advertising slogans, these are not hollow words.
I love the Burbank Discovery Shop. The displays are tastefully done, it’s clean, it’s organized, the volunteers are friendly, and I find great clothes there. That’s the selfish part. However, there is an added benefit that is not selfish — my money goes to a good cause!
Recently I felt inspired to feature the Burbank Discovery Shop in my local news column. I really wanted to meet the person behind the quality products, great staff, and well-thought-out displays, so I was delighted when the manager, Josette Guidos, agreed to an interview.
Q. What inspired you to work for the Discovery Shop?
Josette: I’ve worked here for six years, and prior to that I worked for a major retailer. I like the idea of being able to do something for a good cause. It’s nice to know that what I’m doing can make a difference. Everyone has been touched by cancer. There is a reason why I’m here.
Q. What sort of donated items sell the best?
Josette: Bric-a-brac — also glasses, dishes, house accessories, candlesticks, and furniture.
Q. You have great furniture.
Josette: (Smile) We have some very generous donors. Oh, and jewelry is big. We sold a lot for Valentine’s Day. People love jewelry. We give things a second chance. And yes, recycling — it helps keep things out of landfills. What’s that saying about a man’s trash?
Q. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Josette: That’s the one!
Q. What sort of items and help do you need?
Josette: We need all of the things mentioned. Sometimes we re-donate to other charities. And we are always looking for volunteers: great merchandisers, back-office people, and people interested in a retail environment. But volunteers don’t need to have a retail background. It’s a bonus if someone knows customer service or can run a register, but we have positions that most anybody can do or can learn how to do.
Q. What would you like people to know?
Josette: People shop here, but I’m not sure how much they know. Maybe they don’t understand what all this is for. So much goes to services for cancer patients: wigs, rides to treatments, and many other things that help them look good and feel better.
After the interview, I walked through the store admiring the new arrivals and thought about something the manager of the Burbank Discovery Shop had said early in the interview. “Everyone has been touched by cancer. There is a reason why I’m here.”
Indeed there is.
Thank you, Josette, for using your talents in a way that is of such great service to our community.
Previously published in BurbankLife. ©2013 Christina Moss. I’m the author of four science fiction & fantasy novels: Intwine, Insight, Incircle, and Vampire of My Dreams. Leave a comment and follow me here by subscribing to my blog. Also check out the LINKS page on my website to follow me on Twitter and more: http://www.christinamoss.com/LINKS.html