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Ten years of donations an immeasurable Treasure

by Christine Galeone

If people asked you to tell them about your treasures, what would you say? You might start by telling them about your faith, family, community and education. After, you might mention the objects you own that either make your life better or make you smile.

In North Grafton, there’s a shop that’s managed to sell the latter to serve the former. It’s the appropriately named Treasures. The upscale thrift shop’s mission is to “raise funds for tuition for all students at Whitinsville Christian School.” And in early June, it will celebrate 10 years of successfully completing that mission.  

.Located in Koopman Plaza at 82 Worcester Street, Treasures has donated well over $700,000 to Whitinsville Christian School to reduce the cost of tuition for the school’s students. The shop was started by Eva and Herman Baker after the couple closed Baker’s Department Store in Whitinsville and after they had researched similar shops, around the country, that raised money for Christian schools. As a result, the upscale thrift store has a warm, inviting atmosphere, and its clean, quality merchandise is organized into departments including women’s clothes and accessories, men’s clothes, children’s clothes and toys, shoes, housewares, small household appliances, furniture and home goods and books and DVDs.

Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the shop is run by the dedication and hard work of store manager Beth Barkley (the only paid employee who had 10 years of prior retail managerial experience before joining Treasures) and around 60 volunteers.  The volunteers consist of former WCS teachers and staff, parents and grandparents of WCS students and alumni and a WCS high school student who helps with online marketing. With care and efficiency, they sort, evaluate, clean, price and display donated items that meet the Treasures criteria for quality merchandise.    

Volunteers also run the cash register. Pam Chilton, a parent of both a 9th grade WCS student and a recent WCS graduate, enjoys volunteering at the store. Even though her work as a nurse and her parental responsibilities keep her busy, she finds time to volunteer, because it’s a good way for her to help her community. “This is not just a store,” she said from behind the register on a busy Saturday afternoon. “It’s a community support.”

Carol Schaver, the day manager, has volunteered at the store since the day it opened and loves meeting the customers. Not only is the retired WCS elementary school teacher happy to offer her gifts and skills to help the shop thrive, she appreciates that the other volunteers are using their gifts as well. And she’s grateful for the donations that the shop regularly receives. “We’re very appreciative of that; we would not be here if it wasn’t for the donations,” she said. She added “They’re glad to bring it here, because they know it’s going to a good cause.”

The tremendous success the store has had in supporting that good cause of helping to make a WCS education more affordable will be celebrated by Barkley, Schaver, Chilton and other former and current Treasures volunteers at WCS on June 3. Schaver, who has seen the shop expand from being housed in two storefronts to three and from being open five days a week to six, is happy they’ll be commemorating this important milestone at the school. She shared “We want to honor everyone who has been part of our growth.”

And that includes its customers. To honor them, the shop will hold a week-long celebration the week of June 3. There will be light refreshments, and all customers will receive 10 percent off their purchases. Customers who spend a minimum of $10 will also be entered into a daily drawing for a $25 Treasures gift certificate.

Barkley is also looking forward to celebrating the shop’s anniversary with its customers and its volunteers. She appreciates the loyalty of the shop’s customers. But she also realizes that the people who donate their time and gently used items also helped the store to reach this important anniversary. “Our volunteers are vital to the success of Treasures,” she said, noting that the store also receives “wonderful donations.” She added “Donations and volunteers are vital ingredients for the success of this place.”       

Contact Christine with your business news items at [email protected]