Karie Jean’s Closet is to celebrate its third anniversary next week. Diego Cagara / Spotlight News
VOORHEESVILLE — Family clothing thrift store Karie Jean’s Closet will be celebrating its third anniversary with an all-$1 sale on April 10, 11 and 14, marking its grand reopening as it had recently just moved to its new 1,700-square-foot location on 50 Voorheesville Ave.
“It’s time to purge the winter clothes anyway so we’re going to do it in conjunction with the anniversary,” said manager Linda Martin. “We have mountains of summer clothes to put out after.”
The non-profit all-volunteer-run store is filled with donated goods which offers clothing, accessories and bags for men, women and children. Overseen by around 20 volunteers, it is open on three days so far: Sundays and Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m., and Wednesdays from noon to 7 p.m. It was originally opened as a 500-square-foot space on April 10, 2016 in the lower level of the nearby First United Methodist Church of Voorheesville and it then moved to its current location sometime in late February 2019 — it is on a three-year lease now.
She explained that she did not want to have a grand reopening then because she was not initially sure whether the location’s parking lot can accommodate the crowds and she believed that since it was still too cold, it may deter some people from coming.
Martin said that one reason for the move was to have a more central location where she and her volunteers can collect donated clothes, sort them and store them, all without having to drive back and forth between her own home and the church like before. Another reason was because of the lack of adequate space at the church where she recalled how the clothing racks were so tight there to the point that some racks had to be moved out to the hallway and foyer. “And even for the volunteers, it was such hard work because the space was so small and they were tripping over each other,” she said. “So here in our new space, we have a little office kitchen, our little microwave and our refrigerator, and we’re making popcorn and tea, and we’re laughing and having a good time.”
She brought up how the store had housed an automotive repair shop prior which caused much noise and traffic; she joked that the residents would enjoy having a “very quiet neighbor now. There’s no lights, there’s no big trucks, no dramatic tools being used now.”
When asked why she thinks this thrift store would benefit the local community, she said that there has been a “surprising need” for a store like this and she appreciated the store’s more intimate nature, as compared to larger shopping malls in the Capital District. “People are willing to come down here and not necessarily have to drive all the way to Albany or Schenectady to obtain low-cost clothing,” she said.
She added that thrift stores are a great place where customers can physically try clothes on, feel the fabrics, and even catch up with neighbors and friends. “We do a lot of hugging and crying with people too and we give them advice on where they can send other household items, and the social aspect was actually something we weren’t expecting,” she said.
Martin added that there have been some curious neighbors who have wandered into the new store so far and she hopes to welcome even more patrons, especially once the $1 anniversary sale begins.
“What we’re doing is very worthwhile and this is an easy way for someone to get involved too without having to really go out of their way,” she concluded. “Customers like to connect on a one-to-one basis, you don’t get that when you’re shopping online and you don’t get that at the shopping mall either.”