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Thrift store director keeps donations in check

Proceeds from store benefit St. Jude Parish and School

Jan. 26, 2011

Manned by a staff of volunteers and a part-time paid manager, St. Jude Thrift Shop has been in existence for more than 30 years. It's not the largest resale venue people who enjoy the thrill of the hunt may encounter, however, as many treasure seekers realize, a closer look reveals much more.

Lynn Musolf, director of administrative services at St. Jude Parish, oversees the store's operations and says it really is "the little shop that could."

The Women of St. Jude originally organized the store, volunteering as marketers, advertisers and store workers. The first site was in the parish rectory, but the store was moved to its current site in the basement of the convent about 25 years ago.

While the store is open just two days each week, donations are accepted every day at a shed located toward the rear of the convent-turned-community-space. (There's also a day care that makes use of the facility.) Annual proceeds of $40,000 to $48,000 go to St. Jude Parish and School to fund their programs, according to Musolf.

Donations of items that the shop has collected, not sold, have also made a difference to people who have never even visited the store.

"The store has had such an impact here and abroad," Musolf said. "We have made contributions of eyeglasses that have made their way to Honduras; jeans we've collected were sent down to Appalachia; sheets and stuffed animals have been donated to AIDS clinics. There have just been so many ways we've given."

Not all items received are resold in the shop. Furniture is often sent to Father Gene's Help Center in Milwaukee or the Salvation Army, but other items left at the donation shed simply can't be reused, like old tires. Musolf said the best bet, if there is any doubt what St. Jude will take, is to call first. Staff can connect donor with recipient.

Shoppers can find a well-organized layout, with textiles, women's clothing and accessories in the main room, and men's and children's clothing in their own separate rooms. Seasonal items and home goods are also found on shelves along the hallways. With new merchandise added weekly, it's generally a new store every time you visit.

If you would like to suggest a business to be featured in the Business Spotlight, send an e-mail to news@cninow.com or call (262) 446-6643.

JUST THE FACTS

NAME: St. Jude Thrift Shop

ADDRESS: 822 Glenview Ave.

OWNER: St. Jude Parish, led by Lynn Musolf

PHONE: (414) 259-097

HOURS: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday

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