After just two years of operation in the Shore Mall, thrift shop Kathleen's Closet has moved down the Black Horse Pike to the open-air Festival at Hamilton shopping center, located just west of the Hamilton Mall.
Former volunteer and frequent patron Helen Jones recently visited the shop, which re-opened in its new location Dec. 14. Jones said she likes the new look.
"It's roomier, laid out nicely," said Jones, who lives in the McKee City section of Egg Harbor Township. "I was surprised."
Kathleen's Closet was opened in 2010 as a means to support local hunger relief under the umbrella of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch.
The shop offers a variety of goods at affordable prices. In addition to men's, women's and children's clothes, the shop sells jewelry, videotapes and other odds and ends, such as Christmas ornaments. Almost every item in the store costs $5 or less.
Food Bank Executive Director Margie Barham, who came up with the idea of opening the thrift shop, said the shop is finding continued success in its new location.
"People are finding us, and I think we're doing well," Barham said. "We have high hopes for the shop to do well there at the Festival at Hamilton."
The move entailed a lot of work for the shop's volunteers, who number about 20 to 30, manager Lisa Burke said. Burke and her staff put in two weeks of 10-hour days, painting, laying carpet and organizing for the re-opening.
While the staff and the goods are mostly the same, little else is like the previous location. With more space to work with, the layout has been improved.
Being out in the open rather an inside a mall has made the shop more exposed. Though it's just a few miles down the road, the shop is drawing a new crowd, Burke said.
"We're getting a different clientele coming in. Our donations are definitely better donations," said Burke, who lives in the English Creek section of Egg Harbor Township. "It's just a better setup. It's a boutique style store instead of a straight thrift shop."
In addition to volunteers, local businesses were invaluable in the move, Burke said. Atlantic City Linen Supply donated the use of its trucks in moving supplies to the new location, and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa donated a new carpet and some goods. Other work was donated by the community.
"I'm just thankful for my volunteers," Burke said. "Seriously, I would not have been able to open the store if it wasn't for the volunteers."
For more information about Kathleen's Closet or to volunteer, call 609-383-8843, ext. 104.
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