What could be better than purchasing deeply-discounted goods while supporting others in need in your own local community? Well, anyone can do just that by stopping in to the Volunteers of America Thrift Store on the corner of South Main and Hazle Streets in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Store Manager Brian Cann describes the retail outlet as a “value store”—a “nice alternative” to paying full retail price for things like slacks, blouses, shirts, coats, and even furniture. Donations are garnered from the general public in the greater Wyoming Valley and may be made right at the 400 South Main location or by calling (570) 829–5100 to schedule a pick up by one of their two box trucks. Interested donors should also keep an eye open for VoA mailings announcing community pick ups of goods throughout their neighborhoods.
What sort of services are funded by the thrift store operations? In Wilkes-Barre (the VoA of Pennsylvania’s primary hub is located in Harrisburg), housing facilities such as the Manna House Apartments, Hartman Home, and The Palmer House benefit those who qualify for admittance. Caring Alternatives assists women who are in crisis pregnancy, while Ruth’s Place provides around-the-clock shelter for homeless women. The Volunteers seek to offer a “hand up.” According to VoA of Pennsylvania President Alan R. Garner, “We strive to help people become self-sufficient.”
Wilkes-Barre thrift store Manager Cann says his site may see 140–180 customers on a slower day, and even as many as four- or five-hundred on a sale day, on which the already low prices are dropped even further. Every Tuesday is 50% Off day, applied to all merchandise except new items and furniture. Cann explains that new items are never discounted, but furniture is one day per month—the last Wednesday, also extending the 50% bonanza. Each Friday is 10 for $10 day, during which clothing normally marked $5 or less may be obtained for only $1 per garment once the 10th garment is selected. Better yet, the $1-per-item pricing continues for each additional under-$5 piece purchased.
So, be sure to visit and say hello to the staff. They’re working under the direction of a manager who aims to “treat our customers with great service . . . [and] make people feel warm when they come in here.”