The Twice Blessed thrift shop at the Reformed Church of New Paltz on Huguenot Street held a grand re-opening Saturday, October 20 in their newly reconstructed space. Volunteers created a festive atmosphere with balloons, baked goods, gift bags and raffles to welcome back a steady stream of loyal customers who returned to the store after the seven-month closure to find a thrift shop that, as promised, had come back better than ever.
It’s hard to imagine a nicer thrift shop, in fact. First impression is that it feels more like a trendy vintage fashion boutique than a secondhand store, a sentiment echoed by shopper Fawn Tantillo, who tells Twice Blessed board member Wendy Leone, “I love what you did here! It feels like a boutique. This has always been a favorite place, but it’s even better now.”
The space inside has been opened up and painted top to bottom. It’s clean and brightly lit and a full-basement humidifier keeps the air smelling fresh. Volunteers staffing the shop are friendly, and a dressing room large enough to hold a mother and child has been installed in the center of the shop amidst the women’s clothing section, which is the store’s most-shopped area, according to Leone. The merchandise is of excellent quality, which she says is typical of the donations they receive; sometimes people even donate things that are brand new.
But the prices are pure thrift shop bargains: sweaters, for example, cost just $4, tops or nightgowns cost $3 and scarves are $2. Coats run $8-$10, shoes cost $5 and dresses just $8. Handbags are priced at $5 with jeans and shorts at $3.
Items are artfully displayed, separated throughout the space into mini-departments that include the one for women’s clothing, housewares, home décor, children’s clothing and some toys, books and music and seasonal décor. There is a small men’s clothing section, a display of handbags, shoe and scarf racks, a hobby and craft supply area, framed artwork and an antiques and jewelry room.
First opened in 2005 by Lulu Bouchard, who remains actively involved with the store, Twice Blessed closed temporarily back in March due to flood damage that required mold remediation and major property renovations. Sub pumps have now been installed that will prevent any future problems from flooding.
Much of the furniture used to display items in the past was water-damaged and had to be disposed of, with just a few pieces salvageable. But the primary display modes in the new space are part of the reason the shop feels so much like a retail boutique: fixtures acquired through the closing this summer of the Bon-Ton department store that anchored one end of the Newburgh Mall. Twice Blessed was able to purchase at a good price a number of display racks and shelving units once used at the department store that allow merchandising of items to make them stand out and more accessible to shoppers.
All of the hard work that took place to re-open the shop was done by volunteers, from Boy Scout Troop 172 to numerous community members that include John Apuzzo, John Trapani, Dick Alloway and Glenn Phillips, who provided their labor without charge to do the woodwork. John Apuzzo built the striking sliding barn door to the antiques/jewelry room, which holds the large wooden antique cabinet his family donated. Kevin Dannemann oversaw the entire project, and volunteers Linda Corey, Donna Ziegler and Twice Blessed board treasurer Linda Ackert worked on sorting the merchandise, along with other tasks. Local artist Kevin Cook dropped in to help with visual displays of merchandise and Amy King used her artistic eye to help set everything up. Krissy Williams organized the craft and hobby supply section and Rosemarie McBride ran the cash register at the grand opening. (Apologies to all of the other volunteers whose names go unmentioned here. According to Leone, some 20 volunteers are available on a regular basis to keep the shop running.)
A small portion of the money raised through Twice Blessed pays for upkeep of the space, with the majority of funds earned reinvested by the Missions and Outreach Committee back into the community, helping to support local organizations that include Family of New Paltz, St. John Bosco Child & Family Services in Walden and Habitat for Humanity.
Donations may be made to Twice Blessed during regular shop hours, which are Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bring items to “The Sorting Room” at the back of the shop; everything in gently used, clean condition is taken with the exception of electronics and child car seats, strollers and high chairs and the like, for reasons of safety.
For more information, call (845) 255-6340 or visit Twice Blessed on Facebook or at https://www.reformedchurchofnewpaltz.org/twice-blessed.html. ++