CASPER — Kim Holloway knows Wyoming winters are cold, but she thinks people who come in from the cold to shop should not be freezing.
“After last winter, I had had it with our old building,” said the unpaid director of Poverty Resistance Thrift Store Inc.
“There were three days when we had to close because we couldn’t get the indoor temperature to reach 50 degrees.”
That, combined with the pigeons that have returned, was enough for Holloway to work with local real estate agents to try to find another location for the thrift store that has become a one-stop shop for Casper’s most marginalized, as well as a place for bargain shoppers to find great deals.
Holloway and her four paid staff members are scurrying to put together metal shelving, re-hang clothing and price new donations ahead of a planned Oct. 1 grand opening at 342 E. K St., known to many as the site of the old Oil City Liquors.
Until then, the current location at 450 S. Wolcott will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
“We have 6,000 square feet here, and the old building had at most 4,000, and that included office and other space not used for the store,” Holloway said.
In addition to extended thrift shopping hours (9 a.m. to 6 p.m, Monday through Saturday), the Poverty Resistance location offers food boxes from its food pantry, which is used primarily on the weekends when other food pantries are closed.
The store sponsors clothing giveaways for back-to-school and job interviews for those re-entering the work force. And it provides a starting place for those not expecting to be parents.
“We get loads of grandparents who say, ‘I just got my grandchildren, and I have nothing,’ ” Holloway said.
“They get clothing and toys and furniture if we have it — anything to help them make a home environment.”
Poverty Resistance was founded in Casper in March 1987 by Mary Ann Budenske, who holds a law degree and dispensed lots of advice to Poverty Resistance clients.
While Budenske is an ex officio board member, Holloway said legal advice is the one area that Poverty Resistance no longer is able to help.
The new location is on the route of The Bus, and Holloway said free coffee will always be ready.
“You’d be surprised how many people ride The Bus just to come see us,” she said with a laugh.
While clothing, furniture, household items and electronics are available at the store, Holloway said there is nothing the store won’t take.
“We’ve had leftover landscaping gravel, leftover potting soil, and it all sells,” she said.
Others bring the end of the season’s gardening, and people take it and plant it to start gardens of their own.
Holloway said Poverty Resistance is always willing to take donations, but prefers they be left at the new location when someone is there so they can be hauled inside instead of left in the parking lot.
And as for unsold garage sale items?
“We love it,” Holloway said.
Among the items waiting to be unpacked last week were the complete second season of “Grey’s Anatomy,” a hardback edition of “The Testament” by John Grisham and a pair of blue padded stadium seats with backs.
Contact Sally Ann Shurmur at 307-266-0520 or firstname.lastname@example.org.