Pine Hill thrift store has fine bargains

Ann Epner and Berns Rothchild. (photo by Violet Snow)

Ann Epner and Berns Rothchild. (photo by Violet Snow)

Sure, there’s snow on the ground, but believe it or not, now is the perfect time to shop for a designer swimsuit. The new thrift shop at the Pine Hill Community Center, at the western edge of Ulster County, has over 80 brand-new swimsuits, in a range of sizes, patterns, and styles (one-piece, two-piece, strapless, solid, polka-dotted, etc.), and they cost under $10 each.

This thrift shop is the kind that could only exist in a small town not too far from a metropolitan center. It’s stocked largely with new and nearly new items, thanks to the contacts of Berns Rothchild, who is on the community center’s board of directors and works in advertising in New York City. Many of the clothes are worn once by models at photo shoots and then discarded, since they can no longer be sold as new. Others are overstock from clothing companies that would ordinarily shred the unsold clothes or sell them to liquidators to be sent overseas. “They don’t want people buying this stuff for nothing at a thrift shop next door,” said Rothchild, “but a little town in the country is not competing with a New York City storefront.”

Thus the discriminating shopper will be delighted to find a Burberry sweater for $5, a Calvin Klein t-shirt for $8, a Koos skirt for $15, a J. Crew men’s dress shirt for $8. Some of the clothes come from city residents like shopaholic friends of Rothchild’s mother, who buy items, decide they don’t like them after all, and are too busy to return them to the store. “One person’s mistake is another person’s treasure,” noted Rothchild, who whisks hats, shawls, and belts to Pine Hill, along with housewares —from glasses and vases to some rather unusual items. “My friends decided they didn’t need an electric knife sharpener or a tortilla warmer or a terra cotta garlic baker,” said Rothchild. Children’s clothes and toys are also for sale, and she is hoping to receive a shipment of over 100 pairs of new shoes. Donations of goods from the community are sometimes accepted, but Rothchild warned that she’s pretty selective.


The thrift shop is located in the back of the community center in an area where items used to be stored and occasionally sold, bringing in about $20 a month. Rothchild took over the space last spring, installing shelves made of discounted hurricane-damaged wood from Wadler’s in Fleischmanns. Now the shop makes $200 a week, a significant boost to the income of the volunteer-run, non-profit center, which relies on donations and grants for its programs, including yoga and meditation classes, swing dancing, writing workshops, a monthly open mic night, the quarterly Cabaradio variety show, and much more.

The ladies of the weekly social circle are steady thrift shop customers, and the Scrabble club that meets on Tuesday nights always begins with pre-game shopping. “It’s fun to watch people shop,” said board member Ann Epner. “People will say to each other, ‘Oh, I’ve had my eyes on this for you!’ I had a New Year’s Day party, and three of the women were dressed head to toe from the thrift shop.”

“The shop is definitely a community builder!” said Rothchild, who uses the center’s Facebook page to post photos of new items as they come in.

Despite the devoted local clientele, she’s not sure how she’s going to sell 80 swimsuits in this tiny mountain village, even if they do cost under $10 each. Therefore, a bathing suit trunk show and sample sale has been scheduled for Saturday, March 19, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Zephyr, the farm-to-table restaurant at 302 Main Street, where the Indian restaurant used to be. The women-only event will cost $15 for entry and hors d’oeuvres, with a cash bar. All proceeds from the sale of bathing suits will go to the community center.



The Pine Hill Community Center thrift shop is open Thursday through Saturday, from roughly 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but you might want to call ahead at (845) 254-5469 and make sure they’re open. They are located at 287 Main Street, Pine Hill. See also the center’s Facebook page and their website at