History of the Thrift Shop

A quote from the November 1961 Riddlegram: "Thrift Shop Is In The Saddle, Leaves Starter's Gate December 1st."

The Riddle Thrift Shop was a solid fact in November of 1961. The location was 315 Monroe Street in Media PA. A lease for one year was signed with the cost of rent at $125.00 per month and an option to renew for two additional years at the same rent.

A paid worker, Mary Hibberd of Media was hired and volunteers from the various auxiliaries were assigned to help with the running of the shop.

The shop committee, headed by Rose Tree's Ruth Graham and Lillian Hinson of Springhaven, received unanimous approval from the Women's Board to spend up to $7,000 of the Associated Auxiliaries funds to finance the first year of operation.

A working schedule was set up from each of the auxiliaries to man the shop. There were two co-chairmen appointed from auxiliary members to help with the scheduling of workers and make decisions. The first co-chairmen were Ruth Graham of Rose Tree Auxiliary and Lillian Hinson of Springhaven Auxiliary.

By January 22 of 1962, the new Thrift Shop had already paid out $1,837 to consignors, and the shop showed gross earnings of approximately $800. In February of 1962, Alda Knox became the new professional worker for the Thrift Shop and in November of that year, Saige Macauley replaced Lillian Hinson as one of the co-chairmen.

The Thrift Shop was open to customers from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday and on Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm. Consigning hours were 10 am to 1 pm, Mondays through Friday. Consignments were 75% of the selling price for the customer and 25% for the shop. Consignment fee was $1.50 per week, per consignor. The Thrift Shop was open from September until mid June, when it closed for the summer.

1965 found the Thrift Shop at a new address in Media. They moved to the site of the old post office at State & Jackson streets. The move took place in December over a weekend. Paint for the new location was donated by MAB Paint and a truck was loaned to them for moving merchandise and fixtures. Within 3 days they were back in business. They moved a third time to South Avenue in Media. Rosemary McClatchy and Irma Scholten were co-chairmen at that time.

In the years of 1969 to 1970 they realized a profit of $9,000.

At the September 13, 1971 Women's Board Meeting, the announcement was made that the Board of Directors for the Hospital were willing to consider approval of putting the Thrift Shop on Hospital grounds. By this time, the Thrift shop had made a profit of $69,800.00 for the hospital. A resolution was drafted by the Women's Board to be presented to the Hospital Board. At the October 11, 1971 Women's Board meeting, it was announced that the hospital had accepted the resolution to relocate and had provided the space.

The new building was to be 40' by 70', a two story building similar in design to a Wawa food market. Building would start after finishing the hospital.

At the Women's board meeting in April of 1972, it was agreed that $25,000 be set aside for the down payment and hold $5,000 in escrow for payment of lighting, heating, equipment, etc. In June of 1972 the Auxiliary met with an Architect, Mr. Edward E. Robinson, for final plans on the new building. Construction started in the fall with a $30,000 loan from the Women's Board and $100,000 five year loan from Southeast National bank.

The doors of the new Thrift Shop opened on March 13, 1973. The $100,000 was paid in full by February of 1975 with the help of the Women's Board. By the end of 1975 the Riddle Thrift Shop had actually paid for itself, all loans included. The total cost of the 6,000 square foot building and the 24 car parking lot area was $143,087.00.

Riddle Thrift Shop in 1973
Riddle Thrift Shop 1973

On March 3, 1973, there was an Art Show and Cocktail Party for the purpose of introducing the new Thrift Shop. This event was not only a social success but also a financial success as well. Over 60 local artists showed their art work and about 700 people attended.

For several years, the Thrift Shop held a Fashion Show. These shows were always very well attended and fun was had by all.

There were many different Auxiliary members who were either chairmen or co-chairmen of the shop over the years. April of 1973 saw Marge Zultewicz as Chairman of the new shop. Alice Wilkinson became chairman in 1981. Our current Chairman is Janice Duryea.

A Fire Alarm system was added in 1976 for $831 and in February of 1982, the Associated Auxiliaries approved drawings by an architect for an addition to the shop. The second floor addition was completed by 1983 at a cost of $160,797.30. 1997 saw another addition to the shop, a much needed elevator.

The computerization of the shop occurred in the Fall of 1995. We trained our volunteers and employees over the summer and went "live" August 28, 1995. What a difference. Our consignments were typed into the computer. Tickets were printed rather than hand-written. Items were scanned at the register eliminating the time consuming "punching-in" of the numbers. This new system allowed us to do away with the manual posting of sold items and the handwriting of the checks. We were able to cut time in the office and utilize personnel on the selling floor and in consignment where they were needed.

We continued with this "DOS" system after a slight upgrade for the year 2000 until the summer of 2005 when we converted everything to a Windows based system. On-line credit cards, gift cards, touch screens and all kinds of bells and whistles accompanied the upgrade making us one of the most technologically advanced thrift shops in the area. Our Web Page is set to debut in the Fall of 2008.

Nina Cruice joined the Thrift Shop as an Assistant to manager Helen Corace in May 1982. She became manager of the Thrift Shop in November of 1984 when Helen Corace retired. In 2001, The Merry Token Gift Shop was added to the Retail Operations Department. As Director of Retail Operations, Nina is responsible for a staff of four full time employees, two part-time employees and approximately 190 volunteers.

The Manager of the Thrift Shop is Peg Stacy. Peg came to the Thrift Shop as a new employee in 1996. Peg has two assistants today, Jean Akers and Karen Hagan. There are 130 volunteers that help to keep the Thrift Shop running so smoothly today.Our Chairman is Jan Duryea and her co-chairmen are Karen DiPaolo, Audrey Lesky and Bette Smith.

The Thrift Shop is open in the summer, but on a modified schedule. It is open 4 days a week as opposed to 6 days. It has been found that it pays to remain open during the summer months.

The shop continues to evolve in an effort to serve the community and to fulfill its mission as a major fundraiser for the Associated Auxiliaries of Riddle Memorial Hospital.

The shop that began in a small store on Monroe Street in Media grew into a 10,000 square foot two-story building on the grounds of Riddle Memorial Hospital. Along the way it has contributed over $3,274,900 to the Associated Auxiliaries of Riddle Memorial Hospital.