Soroptimists go Upscale with resale store in Oak Harbor
By REBECCA OLSON
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
July 30, 2012 · Updated 9:16 AM
With many families are finding it difficult to make it from one paycheck to the next, Soroptimist International of Oak Harbor knew they could help. Upscale Resale, a store offering a wide range of gently used women’s and girl’s clothing, accessories, books, home decor and kitchen items, opens Wednesday, Aug. 1.
A grand opening ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. Aug. 1 at the store, located at 31780 Highway 20 Suite 3 in Oak Harbor, near Applebee’s.
Inside the shop, fancy coats, day and evening dresses and jeans hang, looking brand new. One room is devoted to a “boutique,” featuring brand name items, suit jackets and gowns, some adorned with hundreds of sequins. Some items cost only a few dollars, but every dollar counts toward Soroptimists’ goal of improving the lives of women and girls in the community.
Soroptimist member Nancy Fey said she hopes the store will help local women, “and of course for us to earn money so we can do more for the community. We enjoy being able to help the community and this will allow us to do more.”
Every year for the past 30 years that Soroptimist has existed in Oak Harbor, the nonprofit has offered scholarships to Oak Harbor High School and Skagit Valley College students, provided gifts for more than 700 children and their families through Tree of Hope, provided mammograms and heart screenings to women, assisted the Help House for Christmas in July and volunteered at numerous events. The club also works to raise awareness for topics like human trafficking.
“Anybody can come and donate and anyone can come and shop,” Fey said.
Donated items must be clean; items with spots or missing buttons won’t be accepted. Donations are tax deductible.
“With the name Upscale Resale, we want to make sure to keep things really nice and in good condition,” Fey added.
The store is entirely run by volunteers. Soroptimist members will be in the shop even on days it’s not open to ready donations and price items.
“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that needs to be done to accomplish this,” Fey said.
The massive amount of work was obvious as Soroptimist members gathered among the piles and racks of donated clothing last week. Cheri English, Renee Faber, Kathy Wagoner and Sharleen Stroyan were knee-deep in clothing. Wagoner steamed dresses while English and Faber priced and Stroyan sorted.
“We’ve got a lot of really cool stuff,” English said, pointing out scarves, belts and more. There is also a room devoted to kitchenware, including plates, bowls and other non-electric items, and a section for books. The clothing racks and mirrors were all donated.
Soroptimist members and their husbands have been working on the shop for months, painting the walls green or blue for a cheery effect and pricing and cleaning clothing. But just because it’s work doesn’t mean it isn’t fun for the women.
“We be comedians in our spare time,” Wagoner joked as the ladies pointed out cute clothing — and the not-so-cute, including a tent-sized teal item that became the butt of a number of jokes.
“We’ve got to have fun,” Faber said with a laugh.
Regular store hours are 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, and 2 to 7 p.m. Thursdays.
The hours will be different for the first week of business. The store will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, after the grand opening at 4 p.m.; 1 to 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Rebecca Olson at email@example.com or 360-675-6611 ext. 5052.