Schenectady County

Ellis’ thrift shop marks 25 years of service

Ellis Medicine’s Elite Repeat Boutique is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Some customers come in and it’s a social visit, Elvira Neumann recalled Thursday. Others stop in after undergoing some procedure or test. Ellis Medicine’s Elite Repeat Boutique is their next stop.

“I don’t know if they buy or not,” Neumann said of the social visits, “but they stay and talk and tell us about their children and grandchildren. I think that’s a wonderful thing that they feel that relaxed with us.”

They come to get good, donated used clothing and other items, with the proceeds all going to the Ellis Hospital Foundation.

The shop is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The milestone is to be marked in a small way today, with cake and coffee at the shop, located at 515 McClellan St., just across the street from the McClellan Campus.

The thrift store began in 1986, as part of St. Clare’s Hospital’s auxiliary. A member saw a similar store at a hospital in Florida and suggested one for St. Clare’s. The idea became reality in 1986. The shop is run entirely by volunteers. Neumann, one of 30 who give their time, is one of the last original members.

The shop has been in its current location for nine years, a converted house owned by Ellis. It had been on the old St. Clare’s campus across the street, but those locations over the years made way for parking.

The shop offers ladies dresses, coats, suits, jackets, blouses, skirts, pants, shoes, purses and jewelry. Jewelry, Neumann said, is a big seller. There are also some children’s clothing and books. The items also have to be in perfect condition, or they don’t sell them, she said.

Neumann hesitated when asked how much the shop raises for the foundation. But Paula Gravelle, director of volunteer services for Ellis Medicine, who was with Neumann Thursday, told her to go ahead, calling the amount, the result of the effort by the volunteers, “remarkable.”

The effort raised $16,000 last year.

“You think it’s remarkable,” Neumann responded modestly, “I think we should be doing more.”

That money, hospital officials said, helped with the expansion of the McClellan Campus’ sleep center, among other improvements.

The store sees all kinds of customers, Neumann said. She recalled one recent customer leaving with a needed new wardrobe after bariatric surgery.

For longtime customer Susan MacVilla, there at the store Thursday with her grandson Nicholas, 7, the thrift store serves a more common purpose. She’s been going for much of the 25 years clothing her six children and buying for her 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

“Money’s always tight when you have a lot of kids,” said MacVilla, of Mariaville Lake. “Now it’s the economy, so it’s got to be even better for people to come.”

Neumann said she enjoys the volunteer aspect, and the variety that the store offers.

“You get involved in this place, and you can’t let it go,” she said. “It takes hold of you, that’s all there is to it.”

The store is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply