Sasebo thrift shop full of treasures
Anne Shinzato co-manages Thrifty Treasures on Sasebo Naval Base. The thrift shop is the Sasebo Officers’ Spouses’ Club main venue for raising funds to benefit the base community. Shinzato leads a group of volunteers from the club to provide gently-used clothing and household items for service members and their families at a low cost.
Shinzato recently sat down with Stripes Japan to explain the secret of the shops success.
Q1. How has the shop grown in recent years and why?
Shinzato: Having a consistent management team for 2 years, plus regular store hours, and a team of supportive volunteers has helped the store thrive, and raised the quality of merchandise. We’ve made great use of social media sites to keep the public informed of sales, fun finds, and special store hours which in turn has increased the store’s presence on base.
Q2. What are the funds that are raised used for?
Shinzato: Funding has also supported USO events and charity golf tournaments, Individual Augmentee care packages, Seabee and Navy Balls, spelling bee awards, uniforms and travel expenses for high school sports teams, teacher appreciation luncheons, classroom supplies, ombudsmen appreciation, Christmas gifts for a local orphanage here in Sasebo, and the International Red Cross typhoon relief.
Q3. What made you decide to volunteer as managers?
Shinzato: I enjoyed shopping at Thrifty Treasures before becoming a club member. After joining, I started volunteering once a month, then weekly, then multiple times a month. I knew that with a little bit of TLC and organization, the store had great potential. I had never worked in retail before and didn’t know what I was in for, but somehow things fell into place and it’s been a terrific experience. Sales have increased and it’s a good feeling knowing we make a difference in the lives of everyone affected. It’s been a fun place to volunteer at and shop at. I’ve met wonderful, interesting people, and seen many unique, weird and awesome items coming out of the donation bags.
Q4. Are there other volunteer opportunities there and what can people do to get involved?
Shinzato: All club members are asked to volunteer at least 2 hours each month as a way of giving back to the community and fulfilling the club’s purpose of community-service. A monthly calendar is sent out to members and all they need to do is email back their availability, very easy.
Q5. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Shinzato: Opportunities for meaningful community involvement can reside in places where you least expect to find them.
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