I am writing to address a situation I became aware of upon dropping off clothing to the Clothes Closet a little while back. My grandchildren and I had become accustomed to shopping outside after we dropped of items to the Clothes Closet, while we waited for an opportunity to shop inside. During this visit there was no merchandise outside, and when I questioned this, I was told that it was looked upon as tacky to have items outside the building. I was a bit shocked, as I had thought this was the perfect manner with which to deal with the overflow of customers until there was an availability to enter the store. I was amazed that the practice of having items outside could be misconstrued as “tacky,” especially having previously been the manager of a secondhand store in Hamilton for the group A Voice for Life. In good weather we often have had items outside to help accommodate the many customers we had visit our store. Many retail stores follow this same practice, so I am shocked that it is being referred to in the manner it is.
The Food Pantry had a porch full of items at their former location, and I never heard a complaint about this, so why would it be a problem for the Clothes Closet now? Is it because they do not have the control over their building that they once had, or is there a safety concern? I am very aware of the space constraints that affect the Clothes Closet, and many people are waiting for often long periods of time outside for a shopping vacancy. Why not allow those outside to have another opportunity to collect items that may not fit into the store, or extra seasonal clothing rack(s). This would be a benefit to the customer and the Clothes Closet as it reduces items to store in the building, allows customers more opportunity to shop, and many of these customers are also at the site to obtain groceries form the Food Pantry.
Setting up some nicely prepared tables and racks for outside shopping opportunities is a benefit to the customers at both the Food Pantry as well as those waiting to shop inside the Clothes Closet. A compromise on this situation is a benefit to the community that these entities hope to serve. I fully support a compromise that allows a neat display of items outside, and would be happy to voice this if I am notified of the next board meeting. As the President of another non-profit and former Chairman of the Park Board in Lone Rock, I am very accustomed to helping in these situations and if I can be of assistance please feel free to contact me.
A. Brandie Coombes