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Serenity thrift store readies expansion

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette


Serenity Shop Thrift Store is moving on up to the west side.

 

Tuesday, Feb. 26, was the last day at its old location, 215 N. Sequim Ave. The store reopens Saturday, March 2, at its new location in the Kite Girl Plaza, 551 W. Washington St.

 

Serenity House of Clallam County bought the property in June of last year after selling the old store’s property to the City of Sequim. The city is in the planning stages of building its new city hall and police station on the site.

 

The new space increases everything the old store offered, said Kathy Wahto, executive director of Serenity House.

 

“This space is bigger with a huge amount of parking, it’s easier to make donations (on the east side of the building) and it’s easier to make purchases and get around inside the store,” she said. “Our idea is to make people a lot happier with our services.”

 

The new store hosts its grand opening starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 2, with activities and free door prizes and refreshments throughout the day.

 

Store manager Belicia “Belle” Muñoz said work on the new store began in December and that it is a great building to cater to a growing business model.

 

Serenity’s new store offers more space for every department from clothing to nursery items to books to furniture while including space for new departments.

 

Seeing Belicia “Belle” Muñoz, store manager of the Serenity Shop Thrift Shop in Sequim, take a break is an anomaly as she is constantly on the go, readying the store for its grand opening on March 2. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash
 
 

Mary Mira has volunteered for two years at the shop and finds the new space exciting especially for its use of lighting, space and windows.

 

“It’s more cheerful and has an open atmosphere,” she said.

 

Mira and other volunteers envision the store creating a thrift store core for shoppers.

 

Muñoz said with Goodwill across the street, people don’t have to travel far for comparative shopping.

“We are two different causes,” she said. “Our cause is ending homelessness.”

 

The store generates about $300,000 in gross sales a year with a large part of that going to supplement programs to prevent homelessness and/or starting housing for families and individuals in need, Wahto said.

 

“Our stores have been a big part of the sustainability of our program,” Wahto said.

 

With the purchase of the old store and the Horne Building, temporary shelters for the homeless will remain until Serenity House secures a partnership, still in the works, to create new housing.

 

Wahto said they are still in the early stages of developing a plan but she said the new site is close to the store and will require some rehabilitation along with building new units.

 

“One thing the board always emphasizes is that when people shop at our store it stays in Clallam County,” Wahto said.

 

Serenity House’s Sequim Thrift Store currently has seven staff and 22 volunteers with more helpers always welcome. For more information, call 683-8269.
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