Thrift shop offers variety, helps fund charity

Live Oak Outreach volunteer Bob Alexander sorts through donations to the nonprofit organization's thrift store, which is open from 1-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. (Photo by Jeff Osborne)

Just off U.S. Highway 281 northbound between George West and Three Rivers, Live Oak County’s answer to big city thrift stores offers a variety of items with proceeds benefiting charity.

A walk through the thrift store and consignment shop reveals merchandise ranging from designer clothes to workout apparel, shoes, books, home decor, children’s toys to jewelry and furniture.

Some of the clothing items still have tags on them. Volunteer Nancy Bledsoe said the store sold an Ivanka Trump purse valued at hundreds of dollars for a fraction of that price.

“Some of the items we have are high end – you never know what people will donate on any given day,” she said. “This is a place where anyone can come and shop and get some great deals. The proceeds help us to provide food for local residents in need and also help us to pay the bills. We recently had to replace a $6,000 air conditioner.

“Our prices are really reasonable. People will travel to San Antonio to check out the thrift stores up there, but they don’t always remember us. Local residents should check us out first. You’d be surprised what you might be able to find here.”

One item in the men’s apparel section which Bledsoe pointed out was a Magellan outdoors shirt that typically sells in a sporting goods shop for $60 that had been priced at $5 – and which still had the tag on it.

Bledsoe said one prominent community member and public servant regularly shops at the store, and “when people ask her where she gets such cute outfits, she tells them, ‘at the thrift store.’”

A table at the back of the store featured several knit shirts in sides 2X, 3X and 4X for just a few dollars, and those items were still in their original packages.

Anna Pena is one of those who regularly shops at the thrift store, and she said she loves the opportunity to find great bargains.

“They have a lot of different things here, with new items coming in regularly,” she said. “Some of the items for sale here are new. They are donated by people who just decided they didn’t want them for whatever reason.

“I enjoy coming in and finding all the goodies. They have so many things that you can’t find anywhere else, especially for these prices. Whether it’s clothes, antiques or whatever, this is a great place to find stuff. It’s fun to spend time looking through the shop. It’s like finding treasure.”

The thrift store is open from 1-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, “and we’re always looking for volunteers,” Bledsoe said.

Becky DeLeon, who helps provide clients with food and other items they need, said she appreciates the donations which allow the outreach to serve more people, and the purchases from the thrift store which help support the charity.

“It’s really a great deal for everyone involved,” she said.

Jo-Ann Thoms, director of the outreach, said all proceeds go back into the charity, and she loves being able to help community members and also organizations.

“We even help the theater, when we get donations of items that we think they may want to use as either clothing or props in one of their performances,” Thoms said. “We are happy to help people however we can.

“Our community is very generous and we thank them. We couldn’t operate without them.”

In the coming weeks, the outreach will have a Christmas store, adding even more selection for local shoppers.

“That’s always something to see,” Thoms said. “We enjoy being able to provide our local residents with quality items, and it all goes back to helping other people.”

Many of the displays in the shop are created by Marilyn Stroble.

“She does such a wonderful job,” Thoms said.

Bledsoe added that Stroble’s displays are as nice as ones which you might see in upscale department stores such as Dillard’s.

Bob Alexander has built several of the outreach’s storage shelves, and is a  frequent volunteer when it comes to helping sort out donations.

“He’s such a blessing,” Thoms said. “He’s really expanded our storage and helped in so many ways. He’s very generous with his time and talent.”

Bledsoe said people should visit the Live Oak Outreach Facebook page to get updates on sales and special items.

“If you need anything, check with us first,” Thoms said. “It could save you a trip from going out of town.”



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