The Well Thrift Store in Saugerties was started in 1975 by the Saugerties Area Council of Churches to provide a way to assist individuals in the community. According to Jane Bird, chairperson of The Well’s advisory board, “Our goal is to work with people so they can help themselves.”
The current store on Partition Street houses the thrift store and “the free Store,” a storefront where everything is free. The thrift store at 80 Partition Street is an inexpensive used clothing and housewares store. “When we find individuals or families in extreme need, potentially following a fire or some other issue, we allow those families to take whatever they need from the thrift stop free of charge,” explained Bird.
The organization’s only expenses are rent, utilities, insurance, maintenance and miscellaneous items. Their net proceeds are given back to the community by supporting the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, the Christmas toy store, the town’s playground fund and other community needs, including financial assistance to help people pay their rent or utilities.
During the pandemic, the monthly rent and utilities continued, despite having no income from the store. “We were facing a near-empty bank account,” said Bird. “We did not qualify for any of the federal stimulus funds for small businesses because we have no paid staff. Instead, we sent out requests to several businesses and organization for any assistance they could provide to help us get back on a more solid financial footing so we could continue to support those in need in our community.”
Ulster Savings Bank made a donation to offset the majority of the overhead expenses for the three months The Well was closed. The Well is once again open on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. The free store is also open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings. See the website for more info.