Your Money ;
; Thrift stores offer more than bargains.
; Customers socialize, volunteer, learn.
; Welcome to the new community center.
Drive the streets of retiree-rich communities in Florida and you’ll see a thrift store every few miles—if not blocks. Step inside and you’ll
spot crowds of shoppers that could make a department store envious.
But it’s not just the bargain prices for gently worn clothing or almost-new
furniture that attract customers. They’ve come to socialize, take classes and
volunteer in what is becoming a new kind of American community center.
Typical is a Goodwill store in Sarasota that offers free classes every week
in English, computer skills and crafts. Volunteer knitters make blankets
and booties for expectant mothers, shawls for people in nursing homes
and scarves for the troops in Afghanistan.
THE NE W THRIFT A store in Kansas City, Mo.
By Sid Kirchheimer