Tahlequah Daily Press

May 31, 2013

Help-In-Crisis’ Encore shop refashions itself

By RENEE FITE
Special Writer

TAHLEQUAH — An expanded boutique with name-brand fashions is just one of the improvements made at Encore Resale Store over the past year.

Encore was established as a permanent fundraiser for Help-In-Crisis, the agency and shelter serving battered women and their children. Under the guidance of Manager Bobbie Smith, the store has been reorganized and is adding special events, like a fashion show fundraiser in the fall, “Thrifty Threads Taste and Tunes.”

Encore takes all clothing donations, which are sold in the store or resold by the pound. Household goods are welcome, and large furniture items are taken by appointment.

“Our name-brand clothing, very nice stuff, is priced a little higher than general clothing,” Smith said. “Not everyone knows we have name brands. I feel like it’s a higher-end resale store, and it is a thrift shop.”

One of Smith’s goals is to make it easier to shop. Staff and volunteers have made the core of the shop more organized by size and item, separating men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. Household goods are neatly displayed, and they have a larger variety of items. And they’re trying to be more selective about what goes out on the floor.

Every day, Smith gets compliments on how nice the store looks.

The store is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Starting in July, it will be open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Smith worked for Help-In-Crisis for a year as a family advocate with the Children’s Advocacy Center, mainly sitting at a desk, conducting meetings and interviews with children.

“When they needed a new manager [at Encore], they asked the staff to go help out,” she said. “I was having fun and they saw I had a twinkle in my eye. I did the interview and was hired.”

Tuesday morning, shoppers were carrying armloads of clothes and other items to the counter to check out, while some were still making selections.

One shopper had a long list of items he needed. Carlos Adair’s home burned down, and he’s starting over. A voucher from Help-In-Crisis to spend at Encore is helping him with some of the basics, like household goods, bedding and pillows, and clothing. It’s his first time to shop at Encore.

“I’ve got my boys for the summer, so we’re getting clothes for them,” Adair said.

He likes the store.

“It helps you out when you need it. And I like the selection,” he said.

Son Gary, 10, was picking out shorts and shirts, while his brother Brody, 8, found a football and a pillow.

Many regulars shop weekly at Encore to see what’s new. Cheyenne Williams has been shopping at Encore for two years. She said she always finds “good clothes that fit, not worn-out or with holes in them.”

“They have a great selection, good purses and their shoes are awesome. Sometimes I get vases or other household goods,” Williams said. “I really like the new expanded boutique.”

Encore supports Help-In-Crisis and its women’s shelter. Proceeds help with utilities at the women’s shelter and fund other programs. As with all nonprofits, volunteers are important. There is a one-time application at the Help-In-Crisis office at 205 N. College, Smith said.

“We need volunteers all the time,” Smith said. “They get training because volunteers can’t just [automatically] know what to do. There’s a lot to learn about the store.”

They can tag and hang clothing, help organize displays, clean and take on other jobs as needed around the store.

“I’m grateful every day for volunteers,” Smith said. “I couldn’t organize without them.”

Volunteer Autumn McKinney likes helping people and supporting the work of Help-In-Crisis and the women’s shelter. Monday was her first day to volunteer at Encore, and she was hanging clothes on the racks and showing people around.

“It’s wonderful! People come in and they have smiles on their faces when they check out,” McKinney said. “It makes you happy to see them happy.”

The boutique area is impressive to her.

 

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