04/28/08 — Thrift store offers bargins and sale chance for airmen

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Thrift store offers bargins and sale chance for airmen

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on April 28, 2008 1:46 PM

Forget about yard sales and Internet auction sites.

Take a break from long hours in department stores.

And please, avoid the trash bin when you can.

If you have access to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, its thrift shop wants you -- and your goods.

You might not have known the base had such a store -- a place where old becomes new, where high-dollar purchases become "steals."

But those who work at and frequent the building say there is always a bargain somewhere.

Debbie Maiette wishes she had known about the shop when she was an active-duty airman.

It would have saved her thousands, she said.

"I have talked to my husband about this before. I say, 'When we were growing up through the ranks, we never even knew there was a thrift shop on base,'" Mrs. Maiette said. "If I had known, I would have been out here shopping for the kids."

Clothing is at a premium there.

So are toys and board games.

And last month, a brand new stroller was purchased by a new mother.

"Even if you can afford it new, there is stuff in here that is as good as new for much cheaper," Mrs. Maiette said. "Everyone could benefit from saving money."

Julie Patterson agrees.

"I'm thinking to myself, 'Why buy kids' clothes new when you can get them here for two bucks?'" the store's co-manager said. "Save the rest of that money for their college fund."

But the shop is more than just a venue at which young airmen save a few dollars.

It is also a place where they can make some, too.

"Instead of messing around with eBay or a yard sale, you can just bring your items in here and we will sell them for you," Mrs. Patterson said.

Say your family gets transferred to another base.

There is no need to throw away those items you simply can't fit in the car or moving truck, Mrs. Patterson said.

Not when there is money to be made.

Instead, simply drop them off at the Thrift Shop and set your price.

When the item sells, you get a check worth 75 percent of the sale. And the remaining money goes back into the community -- in the form of scholarships for military children and spouses.

"Don't throw those items out. Make a little bit of money. We will send you a check," Mrs. Maiette said. "You might as well support your base community."

As is the case in any thrift shop, not all the items that come in are suitable for sale.

Mrs. Patterson's suggestion: "If you look at it and go, 'I couldn't sell that at a yard sale,' that is probably a pretty good indication that you should put it in the trash pile," she said. "Otherwise, bring it on in."

If you have questions about the SJAFB Thrift Shop or would like to make a donation to the scholarship fund, call 919-722-0606.

The store is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on the first Saturday of each month.