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Redwood’s Mission Possible Thrift Store is ready for anything, even the holiday rush


REDWOOD — The sorting room of the Mission Possible Thrift Store is a busy place.

It’s where volunteers gather and where members of the community bring their donations, often popping in to say hello.

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Terri L. Hunneyman, a volunteer; Virginia M. Recor, the store manager; Carolyn M. Westerdick, the assistant manager, and the Rev. Frederica M. Webb, pastor of the Redwood United Methodist Church, which owns the store, gathered there to discuss how the holiday season affects their operation.

The store, which was expanded and rededicated in September, is gearing up to serve more customers this holiday season than ever before, thanks in part to changing perceptions.

“We see a lot more people. A lot of people are buying holiday knickknacks and Christmas trees and holiday clothing and jewelry,” Mrs. Recor said.

According to Mrs. Recor, “all walks of life” come through the door.

“There’s a lot more people buying now from thrift stores than there used to be, I believe. We’re busier more and more all the time,” she said.

The brainchild of the Rev. Edgar A. Hunter, who saw a need for winter coats in his community, the Mission Possible Thrift Store originally was housed in the church basement. It opened at that location on Dec. 13, 2005, and moved to the location on Route 37 in November 2007.

In addition to meeting the demands of its newfound popularity, the store still actively reaches out to those in the community who are in need.

“If we know that a family has been burned out, we try to get in touch with whoever is in charge of that,” the Rev. Ms. Webb said.

“Fire victims, whatever reason, we don’t care,” Mrs. Recor said. “People may be starting a new job and need clothing for that.”

One of the main ways the store helps the community is by providing donations of clothing and books to local schoolteachers.

“We just had a new teacher in the Bay – a new speech teacher – and she didn’t have any games or books, so I must have taken two huge boxes of books and games,” Mrs. Hunneyman said.

The store also is involved with the food pantry on Lake Street.

“We collect money for the food pantry for vouchers and we also collect food during the holiday season,” Mrs. Recor said.

It’s all part of a commercial ecosystem that encourages giving back.

“It’s just so surprising the number of people who come to buy. The people who come to buy also donate. And the people who buy will often put their change in there,” the Rev. Ms. Webb said, referring to a jar full of donations for the food pantry.

The store has a quick turnaround on merchandise.

“A lot of things come in and go right back out,” Mrs. Recor said.

The store is stuffed to the bursting point with women’s clothing, children’s clothing, men’s coats and ties, books, videotapes, cookware, glassware, kitchen utensils and a respectable collection of some classic cassette tapes.

Commenting on the tapes, Mrs. Recor reminisced about the time her band, the Midnight Flyer, opened for Waylon Jennings at the Clayton Arena in 1987.

Mrs. Recor, a singer, described the gentlemanly ways of Mr. Jennings, to whom she was introduced backstage. “He shook my hand and tipped his hat. He said, ‘Nice to meet you, ma’am.’”

Mrs. Recor and the Rev. Ms. Webb laughingly dismissed the suggestion that the store start its own Mission Possible music group.

During the course of the conversation, the doorway between the sorting room and the shopping area was never devoid of visitors. The efforts of one particularly persistent man aroused a hearty round of laughs from the staffers in the room.

“People love to annoy people,” Mrs. Recor said, smiling.

“They’re always picking on us back here,” Mrs. Hunneyman added.

This interchange draws attention to the dynamic nature of the thrift store itself, highlighting that it exists to respond to the changing needs of its community, which can be unpredictable at times, in both good and bad ways.

“People, see, they pop in. And you never know when you’re going to get something or what you’re going to get. You might be ready to close and someone would come with a truckload. That’s why we all have good senses of humor. We all laugh a lot,” Mrs. Recor said. “You’ve got to roll with the punches.”

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays.

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