Roseburg thrift shopping: a lot more than savings

It is the season to spruce up and clean. People are clearing their homes of the old to make room for the new—new wardrobe, new seasonal décor, new summer reading (the list goes on). Donating to local thrift shops eases the burden on local landfills while supporting unique businesses within the Roseburg community.

UCC Cyber Security major Mike Younis and his wife support their family of five through their eBay shop, Urban Thriftology. Younis’ wife founded Vanilla Gorilla, an upscale thrift store in Roseburg which she sold in the 2000s. Her experience brings great value to their business in terms of sourcing and pricing. Urban Thriftology does not accept donations from the community. Instead, this power couple ventures to The Bins, a Goodwill outlet in the Portland area. Here they can spend the day “treasure hunting” for the trendiest fashions and price comparing simultaneously. The whole process sounds chaotic, but Younis explains it with excitement.

Younis’ favorite aspect of thrift is the wonderfully diverse individuals he has met, both in the virtual world of social media and the physical. “People that are on a budget, that are conscious about their dollars, seem to be the most down to earth people I’ve met,” he says.

The couple went with online over brick and mortar with their business to avoid crippling overhead costs, although they do miss the physical aspect of owning a shop. On the bright side, they have immersed themselves in a supportive thrift community online where they gain much inspiration and tips.

A shop update is coming soon which will include photography equipment as well as fashion apparel. Aside from their eBay shop, you can find Urban Thriftology on Instagram and Facebook.

Lisa McCullough, owner of Kid Cents, takes a different route. Instead of tracking hot trends, her business aims to provide Roseburg families with reliable, affordable products. Many thrift stores won’t accept baby equipment due to recalls, but McCullough and store manager Kim Matthews have made themselves experts on the subject, always checking for safety verification and outdated equipment. They even provide brand new nursing bras after hearing complaints about the lack of them in local stores.

The biggest challenge for these women has been finding an appropriate, affordable building space. In October 2017 they were displaced from their Stephens Street location by new owners. Being unable to renew the lease on their current location, they are looking to relocate, but certain requirements must be met. For example, it must be a safe location with proper facilities for laundry and potty trainers.

A potential building has been determined and, if it follows through, the women will be looking to expand their staff. McCullough says her favorite part about running Kid Cents is “the engagement with our customers. We know their names and they know our names and we share stories about our kids.”

“Its hard to think about letting it go because we get so much personal satisfaction from that,” adds Matthews.

If anybody would like to donate to Kid Cents, all they must do is arrive during business hours and fill out a trade contract which tracks store credit exchanged for donations. They look for items that are most gently used and tend to be quite selective. “We want it to feel more like you’re coming for a specific item and you know right where to get it and you know that you don’t have to dig through something that is stained or torn or out of style,” Matthews says.

Any donations that don’t make it on the racks are sent to the DHS Foster Closet and The Mission.

Information about sales, promos, specials and events can be found on their Facebook page.

Sunrise Enterprise is not specifically Roseburg local, as it provides services to the entire Douglas County. Sunrise is a nonprofit whose mission is to assist individuals with developmental disabilities achieve self-fulfilling lives. Their Path to Employment program provides on the job training in retail, food and janitorial services. Once the Sunrise employee’s training is complete, the company helps place these individuals in their careers, provides daily job coaching, and continues support throughout employment. Some individuals get the opportunity to stay on as Sunrise staff.

“The biggest reason why I work at Sunrise is because we are a local company and all of our donations stay in Douglas County,” says James Rice, Sunrise Operations Manager. Donations can be made at any Sunrise location during business hours. Inventory goes through a five-week cycle on floor. Old inventory is sold to a vendor in Spokane, Washington by the pound and then shipped overseas to be reprocessed.

Rice has nine years of experience in thrift retail, partly at Goodwill industries in Lane County. Some of these larger companies sell their donations out of state or overseas. The only things Sunrise sends overseas are shoe donations to third world countries and recycling collected from the county landfills.

You can shop and donate at these local Sunrise locations:
2331 NE Stephens St. Roseburg, OR 97470

1016 W Central Avenue Sutherlin, OR 97479

126 W Douglas Blvd Winston, OR 97496

875 S Main St. Myrtle Creek, OR 97457

All locations are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.