The Beacon of H.O.P.E. Pine Island Attic Thrift Store offers a variety of items for people to purchase at an affordable price six days a week.
Ray West, manager of the Beacon of H.O.P.E. Pine Island Attic Thrift Store, said they have been doing quite well over the last few years in terms of business and donations from the community. Both areas have seen an increase.
The thought of the Thrift Store came to fruition after Hurricane Charley devastated the area in 2004. Over the years, the store has evolved, as well as the location and size of the store.
Beacon of H.O.P.E. Pine Island Attic Thrift Store Manager Ray West stands among the clothing and dishes offered at the store, which is open six days a week.
West said around 2008 the store moved into its current location, 5465 Pine Island Road.
He originally began working for the store three years ago as a sorter, which then turned into an assistant manager position before being promoted again to the manager of the Thrift Store.
"It doesn't feel like a job," West said. "We have great volunteers. Everyone that works here wants to be here."
The store operates on donations from the community and is run mostly by volunteers - nine to 15 depending on the time of the year.
"Our oldest volunteer is 91 years old," he said, adding that she has been known to work 12 hours a week.
Volunteers commit at least 60 hours a week to the store and during the wintertime the amount of hour's increases.
West said they also have four paid AARP workers for the store that work 18 hours a week.
Beacon of H.O.P.E. Pine Island Attic Thrift Store is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.
Donations from the community are accepted during business hours.
If the donations are delivered after hours or on the weekend and become damp, West said they are useless for the Thrift Store. He said if the items are wet or bug infested, they will not be sold at the store.
Televisions, computer components, mattresses and box springs are not accepted.
Once the donations are accepted, West said they screen them before making them available to customers. The clothing they receive is color coded before being placed on the floor to keep track of when they were received.
The clothing that is not sold is recycled every two months to a place out of Sarasota that pays the Beacon per pound for the clothing. West said the Sarasota location then disperses the clothing to other places.
A special sale of 50 percent off of clothes, shoes, hats and purses is held every Tuesday during business hours. West said four or five times a year he has a 50 percent sale off of everything in the store.
"Days like that we have 100 people," he said go through the doors.
Single items of clothing are $3.
"We try to make it reasonable for Pine Island," he said. "I want people of Pine Island to be able to afford this stuff."
The Thrift Store just received a new trailer to use for furniture pick-ups. West said they are looking for volunteers that could donate three or four hours one or two days a week to pick up furniture that is donated.
"It would help if the driver has a vehicle that could pull a trailer," West said, adding that the volunteer will receive money for the miles they drove.
A background check will be made on those who would like to volunteer.
Volunteers for the Thrift Store are always needed as well.
The money earned from sales at the Thrift Store goes towards rent, utilities and four salaried employees. The remaining money goes towards community programs to help those in need.