Receiving an item through our donation department is the first step in the MITS Retail Cycle. Making the donation process easy for our community has been a priority of the store. The drop-off zone was recently renovated to improve the sorting process and protect donated items from the weather. Donation department manager Ian Hughes and his staff greet donors, often help to collect items before sending them off with a thank you and tax receipt. Interacting with donor’s is Ian’s favorite parts of the job. “People are usually happy to give their items to us greeting us with a smile and occasionally take the time to share a story of special item that may catch a good price for the right customer. Many donated items are designer, collectible and often unique. Ian and his staff will research the history and attempt to price an item fairly, often below market price. The store receives such a high volume, items are priced well, recognizing space will be needed for tomorrow’s donations.
Many times, donor’s drop off their items and then go in to shop. One customer remarked about the atmosphere: “I love coming here. Everyone is so friendly. I consider this a rental store for my kids items. I buy needed items at such a great price and then donate them back when done. I know the money goes to the community."
The job managing donations is full of challenges. The volume of items is huge requiring sending some items directly to other, larger thrift chains. A donated item if not clothing or furniture is placed into one of the 8 sorting bins. Each article of clothing is quickly assessed to be sold in the shop or put aside to go into a large bin where it will be sold in bulk to a partnering nonprofit business. Getting items in, sorted, priced and ready for sale keeps Ian and his team busy. “It’s a physical job. We move furniture into store for sale as soon as there is room.” Ian says as another worker in department lifts and holds up a glass lamp to check for cracks before putting onto shelf behind her. The volume is remarkable. The store is open for donations 6 days a week, every week of the year and the workers are donation team is rarely idle. Ian grew up on the island and first came to the Thrift Store as part of an employment training program and stayed on. “I enjoy the work and the community. It is a great job for me.” Ian says with a smile.
The store takes everything as long as it is in good working condition and can be sold. Dealing with the volume of donations in the garage sale season is the most challenging. The store accepts donations Monday-Saturday from 9am to 4pm.