Big Blue Bargain$ beat a path from home-to-home and, on the way, benefit homes away from home — local schools.
A visit to the thrift shop at closing time, 11 a.m., on the second day of business, Wednesday, happened to illustrate how the cycle works.
Diane Kornitsky walked out the blue door with a $2 tennis racket for her 7-year-old son who plays on a YMCA team.
“You can’t beat that,” she said, holding the racket like she was ready to return volley.
Walking in the blue door at the back of the Swampscott Middle School was shopper Christine Mennino.
Just inside the room that once held the school metal shop — there’s still an eye-wash station in the corner — she scanned a rack of stylish wear on hangers, plucking a white v-neck, fringe-sleeve sweater from the line.
She pointed across the room to the children’s clothing section.
“Look at that — a gorgeous first communion dress,” she said. The single occasion dress was $4.
Before long, Martha Dansdill entered with several bags of donated items.
Martha, who champions recycling efforts, was doing just that with her donations.
The thrift store encourages recycling products, reducing clutter at one location for new life another place where presumably they will fill a need.
BBB President Kristen Dishman says the store sells a variety of clean, gently used products.
From clothing, cleats, ski boots and skates, to books, knick-knacks and curios, all the way to accessories, furniture and small appliances.
Some of the items are vintage and antique.
She pointed to a dresser from the 1920s.
“I will be sad to see it go,” she said.
Other interesting items included a handmade doll, paintings, framed pictures, and an old-fashioned mail scale. A customer who deals in antiques told them they had priced the scale far below value.
“This just got dropped off,” Kristen said, holding a wall-hanging item with candle-like fixtures.
It was a wall sconce from the 1920s, she said.
One of the first donations, a purse, came with a surprise.
“Twenty dollars in the purse,” she said.
On the second day of business, a two-hour stint, the store did $120.
That's a lot of sales given the store's low prices.
Volunteer Gretchen Wollerscheid reeled off some of them.
Jackets $5-$10. Men’s dress shirts $3-$5. Children’s clothes $2-$5. Ski boots $5. Skates and cleats $3.
They've received many donations.
The store is about the size of a tennis court but filled.
Parents are ready to volunteer, too. Seventy-six people have signed up to help price, stock and sell.
The Magic Hat thrift shop in Marblehead has been a big help, advising on thrift store operations, Kristen said.
Big Blue Bargain$'s first day of business was Saturday, Jan. 21, making $700.
Among the sales were mittens for kids who had been sledding nearby and needed a change from their cold, wet gloves.
The store is located at the very back of the Middle School. It is open from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays, and 9 am to 11 am on Wednesdays.
Proceeds benefit projects, programs and events of the five public school’s PTOs.