Opportunities abound at the Fort Leonard Wood Thrift Shop

Amanda Sullivan, Special to The Rolla Daily News
Fort Leonard Wood Thrift Shop volunteer M.J. Fryberg prices donated items in the warehouse before they are placed for sale. The thrift shop sells both donated and consignment items and a portion of the proceeds go to local community outreach programs. (Photo by Amanda Sullivan, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office)

The Fort Leonard Wood Thrift Shop has been providing quality second-hand goods to service members, their families and community members here for 55 years.

Located in Bldg. 493 on Replacement Avenue, the thrift store is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays after a military pay day. According to store manager Michele Evans, anyone with access to the installation can shop at the store. Consignments, volunteer positions and employment are offered to Department of Defense ID card holders.

The primary mission of the thrift shop, Evans said, is to generate maximum profit through donation sales in order to grant financial contributions to community organizations; its second mission is consignments.

“Last fiscal year, the store processed an average of 80,000 donated items,” she said. “Consignors brought in 4,500 items, which allowed the store to distribute $37,000.”

Store profits go to a variety of local community organizations by way of outreach grants and can also serve as emergency funding in the event of a natural disaster in the community. When a DOD ID card holder’s consignment goods sell, 30 percent of the profits go to community outreach.

To aid in the operation of the store, Evans said she relies on volunteers. They can start at age 12 with a parent present, or 15 without. Some of the duties include attaching tags to merchandise, placing items on the floor and assisting with the consignment desk.

Evans said volunteer opportunities at the store come with a variety of benefits.

“Volunteering looks great on resumes, scholarship and college applications,” she said. “Volunteers are also eligible to receive consignment perks, a discount on shop merchandise, childcare reimbursement and travel time.”

For volunteer M.J. Fryberg, the greatest benefit is the personal interactions she has with the customers, employees and her fellow volunteers.

“This gives me a way to get closer to people and socialize,” she said. “I like being around the people here. They’re really nice and they’re giving from their heart.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the thrift store can drop off their goods through the front entrance or they can call and be met at the brown double doors located on the east side of the parking lot. Donations can also be left at the loading dock behind the store any time of the day. Evans noted the store does not accept box-style televisions, mattresses, tires, or broken, stained or otherwise unusable items.

For more information about consignments, donations, volunteering or employment opportunities at the thrift shop, call 573-329-4707, email thriftshopflw@gmail.com or visit www.flwthriftshop.org.