The Rummage Room is stuffed with new merchandise. The friendly volunteers at the beloved Old Greenwich thrift shop have been hoarding away all manner of cashmere sweaters, Lilly Pulitzer dresses and skirts, trousers, children’s clothes, shoes, pillows, jewelry and knick-knacks for months. Today was the grand re-opening, but the sale continues all week. In fact, thrifty shoppers in -the-know return for several visits because there is so much merchandise to sift through. And the bargains are amazing.
Rummage Room has earned its place in the history of Greenwich when, on Oct. 1, 1964 the thrift shop opened at 191 Sound Beach Ave, originally the site of the local post office, and later served as hardware store. The thrift shop derives its name from the “rummage sales” that the Women’s Guild of the First Congregational Church of Greenwich organized.
The sales were so popular that customers lined up before the sales started and left with armloads of merchandise. When the Rummage Room opened on Sound Beach Ave, the rent was $250 a month. Even the cash register was donated.
With fifty years under their collective belt, the volunteers at Rummage Room are seasoned in their operation. Manager, Maria Drieghe was busy at the check-out with Mary Jo Watson on the first day of the weeklong re-opening sale.
Maria, who is set to retire after 20 years managing the store said, the event was a bit emotional. “It’s sweet and bitter, she said.
“Bittersweet,” offered Watson.
Maria, who is originally from Belgium, agreed. “Yes, it’s bittersweet. But my plans are to come back and volunteer here. Next year, I’ll be here on the grand reopening as a volunteer,” she said.
Maria’s long run as Rummage Room Manager all began one day in 1995 when her car broke down and she came into The Rummage Room to use the phone. Hundreds of thousands of dollars later, her run as manager comes to an end, but Maria is very proud of her work.
“Our goal for the first day of the re-opening sale is $10,000,” she said. “One year on the first day of the re-opening we made $14,000.”
All money raised goes to charities that benefit women and children. On an annual basis the store generally raises $150-$175,000.
Though the prices are very reasonable — bargains indeed — over the past 51 years, the Rummage Room has contributed well over $ 4 million to charity.
The other popular day at the Rummage Room is April Fool’s Day, whn volunteers serve as live mannequins in the store windows and spring signals an increase in foot traffic in the village of Old Greenwich.
The re-opening sale continues all week. If you missed the first day, that’s okay. There is plenty of new merchandise to peruse all week!
Rummage Room is located at 191 Sound Beach Ave, Old Greenwich, CT 06870 Tel. (203) 637-1875
Hours: 10:00am til 5:00pm Monday-Friday and 10:00am til 1:00pm on Saturdays.
Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
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