If you are looking for a way to support a local cause, it’s as easy as walking into one of your local thrift stores and making a purchase. Saint Augustine is known for its devotion to community and the treasure trove of interesting thrift stores, all benefiting local foundations is a fabulous feature of this town.
1. Betty Griffin House
1961 A1A South
Everyone on the island knows where the Betty Griffin store is. It is the go-to place for just about anything. Three years ago, Trish Van Brocklin took over the helm and transformed the place to more of a boutique than a thrift shop. Since then, sales have been off the chart.
The Betty Griffin house offers shelter for victims of domestic violence and their minor children. At any time, they may be assisting from 45-50 participants. The program assists these victims through counseling and transitional support. They also pull items from the thrift store, such as furniture and clothing, which will aid these women in making a new start. “We are proud to be a part of breaking cycles of abuse,” said Van Brocklin.
Join in on the 3rd annual Betty Griffin 5K on April 16.
Without community support, there would be no success for endeavors such as this. “Our community not only loves to shop here, but we are now an extended family. My favorite part of the job is the people that work here and our customer’s generosity,” said Van Brocklin.
Girls, don’t despair over the cost of prom. The thrift store has a huge selection of prom dresses, ranging from $5 – $30.
239 San Marco Avenue
The Alpha-Omega thrift store just moved to a new location at 239 San Marco Avenue a few months ago, and the new location is much more spacious and sunlit. You may be surprised to learn that at Alpha-Omega, you will find everything from antiques to name brand items with tags still on them. They also run daily sales and this information can be found on Facebook.
All proceeds from the thrift store support the Alpha-Omega Miracle Home. Their tagline is Shelter, Support & Hope for Women and Children. The home is a non-profit offering supportive housing to women. This includes single mothers, their children, and senior women. AOMH also serves St. Johns County through outreach initiatives, which include a community diaper bank, an annual Shoes of Hope giveaway, Extended Families Program, and adoption services.
Brenda Guevara, Interim Director of Marketing is amazed at the benevolence of St. Augustine locals. “My favorite thing about the job is seeing evidence every day of the goodness of people, families, business owners and organizations. We rely on volunteers, partners and donors to do the work we do. There is no shortage of people who want to make a difference,” said Guevara.
Entertain this summer with some lovely palm tree plates at only $2 each.
3. St. Vincent de Paul
19 McMillan Street
The St. Vincent de Paul thrift store has over 20,000 square feet of sales space. Your only problem will be having the time to peruse the entire location. General Manager, Joe Petrone wants you to know that you will surely be impressed at the cleanliness and organization of the space. They accept drop off donations Monday – Saturday from 9-5 and have a free pick-up service for larger items.
Simply stated, St. Vincent de Paul is there to support anyone who needs help. A team is sent to each client’s home to evaluate the extent of their need in order to formulate a plan. This may include rental assistance, utility help, or furniture, to name a few. The foundation supports the homeless by offering free clothing, shoes, or blankets on a daily basis.
Joe Petrone can’t say enough about the value of volunteers. “My favorite part of the job is having met so many generous volunteers who are willing to give of themselves each and every day to help our community. They do this with little recognition and no fanfare. Without them, there would be no St. Vincent’s, no help to the needy and no thrift store,” said Petrone.
There is an amazing amount of great merchandise here. But, with summer on the way how about some beach cruiser bikes ranging from $10.00 to $30.00
4. Ayla’s Acres
142 King Street
At this store you will find antiques, collectibles, clothing and so much more. However, the most unique facet of the shop is Loretta’s Loft. This area features paintings and jewelry created by Loretta Swit, as well as donated clothing, shoes and jewelry from her closet. The store is currently in need of furniture. For questions or pick-ups, call 904-484-8792
Ayla’s Acres is about animals in need. They maintain a sanctuary for senior unadoptable animals, which is housing 200 animals at this time. In addition, they seek foster homes and adoptions for dogs and cats. So far this year they have provided adoption for over 30 animals. Executive Director, Fran Charlson has been at the helm for four years and is responsible for bringing on Loretta Swit as an honorary board member. “I’ve met so many people willing to help Ayla’s Acres. It’s refreshing,” said Charlson. They are currently working on a capital campaign and have been given a $1 million-dollar matching grant to fund the construction of a local facility.
Were you a fan of the hit TV series, MASH? Purchase some great second-hand clothing from the closet of Loretta Swit.
Next time you have a little shopping to do, choose one of these places, and you’ll find that when you reach into your pockets, you’ll also be reaching into your heart. Do you have a favorite local thrift store that we didn’t mention? Be sure to give them a shout in the comment section below!