Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Savings in store

Presbyterian Thrift Shop funds Christian missions

Julie Brown, Staff Writer

Husband and wife Ted and Lynne Porter of Plymouth
Township enjoy overseeing the Presbyterian Thrift
Shop. The shop is marking its 70th anniversary
and supports a plethora of missions.
Items from the Presbyterian Thrift Shop of Plymouth have been known to travel a bit.
“Our suits found their way to the White House”  explained volunteer Ted Porter who, along with his wife, Lynne, manages the shop at 331 North Main St.
The two suits were purchased by a visitor to the shop who bought them for his son explaining the young man got an internship. He wore the suits to his new job in the White House, Porter said.
“We got in a handmade Elvis quilt,” recalled Porter. A raffle of the “King's” quilt was arranged as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society through the owner of Richard's restaurant, located a few miles down Plymouth Road. 
The couple, Plymouth Township residents, have managed the shop, run via the First Presbyterian Church of Plymouth, since 2007, helped by fellow church member Linda Luke and others.
Volunteers don't come exclusively from that church, noted Lynne Porter, although church members make many donations. The shop, which is turning 70 this year, boasts 10,000 square feet. 
It's open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and from March through December 6-8 p.m. Wednesday.
On the main floor, glassware, jewelry, decorative plates and more are shown. The front of that floor houses a lot of clothing on racks, the quality of which Lynne Porter displayed. A Coach scarf had just come in, and some donations still carry their original tags.
Clothing and knickknacks sell well, Ted Porter said, and the upstairs Game Room shelves with board games draw children in as parents shop.
Proceeds support missions, overseas as well as closer to home, including First Step and Northville Civic Concern. Rising profits from sales, some 17 percent a year recently, cover rent and utilities, meaning missions work gets more help.
Ted Porter worked in purchasing at Ford Motor Co. while his wife was employed at the TRW automotive supplier, and Linda Luke worked in food service at the former Northville Regional Psychiatric Hospital.
The 75 some volunteers have varied backgrounds, and include National Honor Society students seeking service hours as well as court-mandated volunteers.
“They're very dedicated and hardworking, and they care about their customers,” Porter said of the volunteers. 
“This is our entrance into Holiday Heaven,” said Porter of holiday collectibles and linens. “The stuff just flies out of here starting in September.”
In addition to Christmas, some St. Patrick's Day and Valentine's Day items sell. Books and artwork are nearby, as well as electronics.
“Vinyl records are coming back. They're very popular,” explained Lynne Porter. Store volunteers, some of whom work limited hours, may adopt a section, such as purses and shoes.
The donated display cases as well as store cabinets came from Montgomery Ward, noted Lynne Porter, although she said that was not documented.  Store volunteers give items like pet supplies to appropriate organizations, and keep an area for weekly pickup from the Disabled American Veterans.
“I really like displaying things. I enjoy meeting people,” she said. 
Her husband does too, and both note the socializing of regular visitors is also a mission.
Plans are being discussed for the 70th anniversary observance, which will be in addition to the annual tool sale in May.