‘Early Saturday morning luck’: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton thrift shop reopens

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  • The newest and largest room of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Thrift Shop in Florence has room for furniture and a large collection of children's toys and books. Photographed on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Cathy Kenneally, left, of Westhampton is helped by Patricia Shaughnessy, center, and Trish Duffy with her purchase of several children's items on reopening day at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Thrift Shop in Florence on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Judy Cooper of Easthampton is reflected in a curio cabinet of figurines as she browses at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Thrift Shop in Florence on its reopening day, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greg Lewis of Northampton was happy to find this 1968 astrological signs serving tray at the reopening of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Thrift Shop in Florence on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • This 30th anniversary Star Trek "Barbie & Ken" gift set, likely issued in 1996, was on display at the reopening of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Thrift Shop in Florence on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • A pair of tall white wicker basket flower stands towers over one of two air filters operating at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Thrift Shop in Florence. Photographed on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Volunteer Trish Duffy talks with the Gazette about the regular patrons to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Thrift Shop in Florence as she works at the shop, which is located in the basement of the SEAS Youth Center, on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Patricia Shaughnessy, one of the co-managers of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Thrift Shop in Florence, talks about efforts by volunteers over the last month to prepare the shop for its reopening on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 10/18/2020 9:05:19 PM

NORTHAMPTON — On his way back home from a run to Cooper’s Corner on Saturday morning, Florence resident Greg Lewis noticed that the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Thrift Shop had reopened for the first time since March — so he decided to pop in.

“You gotta get in when the stuff is here,” said Lewis, 45, as he held an artsy mid-20th century tray that he said he’ll use for entertaining guests. “This is that early Saturday morning luck that I think I get if I take my circuitous route around Florence to get home. So I feel really lucky to be here for this.”

Lewis was one of several local residents to file in and out of the thrift shop’s 87 Beacon St. space in Florence on its first day back open since it closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Thrift Shop first opened in 2009 and is co-managed by parishioners Patricia Shaughnessy and Barbara Kaczenski. The store takes donations of items from parishioners and others who just know about the shop, Shaughnessy said. The store is located in the basement of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish offices.

In the middle of March, the store decided to shut down as volunteers and others started to become concerned about the coronavirus.

“Most of our volunteers are older,” Shaughnessy said. “So we chose to close.”

Over the past few months, Shaughnessy said the thrift shop received a lot of new donations. The thrift store accepts most donations, except for books and clothing.

“People left stuff in my garage, we would come up here and meet people,” she said, noting that more people seemed to have cleaned out their homes due to the pandemic.

Over the last month and a half, Shaughnessy said, volunteers have been in the thrift store every day getting things set up.

“Right now, we pretty much probably cleared and priced maybe 80 boxes, but we still have a lot of boxes put away that we need to still mark,” Shaughnessy said.

Face masks are required in the thrift store, and only a set number of shoppers are allowed in at a time. The store also has two air filters that together cover the entirety of the sales floor, Kaczenski said.

Ready to be bought by thrifters on Saturday morning was an assortment of kitchen appliances, dishware, pots, handmade quilts, kids toys, vinyl records and other curios. The shop even had some interesting collectors’ items, such as a flag from Northampton’s tercentenary in 1954 and a 30th anniversary Star Trek gift set featuring Barbie and Ken. There’s also a new room that houses most of the shop’s furniture.

Florence resident Sue Poulin bought an old pie safe at the store on Saturday that she hasn’t decided what exactly to do with yet. She said she’s been coming to the thrift shop for three or four years and has also donated items to it.

“I just think it’s a great way to find bargains and recycle,” Poulin said.

The thrift shop is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Gift Shop, which is in the same building and also reopened Saturday, is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.


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