Re-Runs in Edgewater Village features clothing, charity

September 13, 1992|By Phyllis Brill | Phyllis Brill,Staff writer

Except for the name, Re-Runs, there's little to suggest a thrift shop when you enter ARC/Harford County's new store in the Edgewater Village Shopping Center. It looks just like any small clothing store you might find in a mall.

Two-piece outfits in trendy plaids and prints hang on the walls over chrome paneling; fall clothes in the latest shades of gold and green fill circular racks; and clean, well-lighted dressing rooms -- with doors -- line the back wall.

It's only when you look at the price tags -- nothing in the Edgewood store is more than $20, and most items of clothing are closer to $10 -- that you're reminded that this is, after all, a non-profit-run operation selling donated goods.

"When we designed this, we didn't want it to look like a thrift shop," said store manager Shirley

Craig. "We tried to make it as close to a nice ladies shop as we could."

All store proceeds go to ARC/Harford County , an advocacy organization for the developmentally disabled.

While Ms. Craig keeps prices competitive with other thrift shops, she hopes the ambience of Re-Runs will give it an edge.

So far, apparently, it has. The store, which opened July 1, has done very well in its first two months, says Ms. Craig, "and people are bringing in donations all the time."

The store sells women's, men's and children's used clothing and accessories. Last month it added a small room with household items, toys and children's furniture.

Women's and children's clothing and baby accessories are the biggest sellers, says Ms. Craig. But men's suits, jeans and curtains are popular, too. You can buy a blouse for $5, a coat for $10 and a three-piece men's suit for $18.

"The good stuff goes as fast as it comes in," she says.

"Government money is dwindling, and [ARC] has to find ways to fund itself," says Ms. Craig. "This is an alternative to asking the government for it."

And a pretty wise alternative, she believes, in the current economy. "I think thrift shops are the wave of the future."

ARC is counting on Ms. Craig's business background -- she ran a family-owned restaurant in Edgewood and a vending company before joining ARC -- and Assistant Manager Rita Lopez's 12 years' experience in retail stores to make the thrift store a success. Together, they select clothes and household items to display. Most of the sorting and behind-the-scenes stock work is done by volunteers.

The store depends entirely on donated items, just as other non-profit stores do. But unlike some thrift shops that sell everything they get, Ms. Craig and Ms. Lopez are rather selective.

"We try to put out only our best things," says Ms. Craig. Anything soiled or too worn isn't even displayed. Those items, as well as any merchandise that doesn't sell by the end of the month, is sent to the House of Ruth, a Baltimore shelter for battered women, or shelters for the homeless in Baltimore.

Besides individual donations, Re-Runs accepts manufacturers' overstock and "seconds" that have been rejected for reasons like faded color or a bad zipper or badly sewn seam. The women remove the tags and sell the unused items for "one-tenth what you'd pay in a retail store," says Ms. Craig.

"Teens love them," Ms. Lopez says of the seconds. "They come in and buy a new pair of jeans for $20 that would cost them $70 at retail prices."

(Re-Runs is open seven days a week. For more information, call 612-0077.)

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