2017-06-08 / News

Thrift shop cuts Thursday hours


Coffee Bell is surprised by co-workers with flowers and a cake after announcing her retirement from the St. Matthew’s thrift shop. Coffee Bell is surprised by co-workers with flowers and a cake after announcing her retirement from the St. Matthew’s thrift shop. Bargain hunters in town will notice some changes the next time they scamper through the thrift shop at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church.

With the departure of longtime volunteer Coffee Bell comes reduced hours at the store, which has offered the best prices in town for clothing, books, jewelry, toys and electronics for decades. It is Bell’s exodus that leads to the Thursday cutbacks.

“I cannot commit to opening it every week going forward, and also don’t want the work of finding and supervising someone else at night,” said shop director Sue Fay.

The store will continue to be open from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but the Thursday night operation is being scaled back. The new hours are 6-9 p.m. on the third Thursday each month. It will be closed on all other Thursdays throughout the year. The evening experiment started two years ago, and while it isn’t as busy as the morning hours, Fay thinks it’s important to be open at night. “I didn’t want to cut off people who couldn’t come during morning hours totally, so I will open it once per month instead,” said Fay, who served as the parish administrator from 2003-10. “We will see how it goes.”

Bell’s departure comes after volunteering for more than 15 years in the store. When Peter Hoagland decided to retire from the director’s post after 20 years, he asked Bell to manage the store in the interim. Bell said she takes great pride in Hoagland’s faith in her.

“I pray I lived up to his expectations,” she said.

Bell also praised her “family of co-volunteers,” including Linda Martin, Sue Warsawski, Laura Clark, Faye Murphy, Gordon Salsberg, Valerie McLaughlin, Roxie Smith, Keller DiLuglio and Anne Wilson.

“Make sure you remember to give them all the love and respect they deserve,” she said. “I’ll be checking.”

Bell said she’s not leaving the island, just starting a new adventure. While the bargains are the main attraction of the popular store, Bell said the camaraderie was the sticking point.

“Of course there is great shopping, but more than that it is a social meeting place of men, women, children and an occasional dog,” she said. “Laughter can always be heard.”

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