Dollar store packs 'em in at Santa Fe College

Published: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 11:02 p.m.

If it's Wednesday, Santa Fe College employee Rosa Freeman knows where she's headed during her lunch break.

Freeman, who works for the school's custodial department, heads to Building D and steps inside what was until recently an empty office at the end of a hallway.

The desk, computer and phone are gone now - replaced by two racks bursting with dresses, coats, pants, sweaters and shorts.

There's a rack of baby clothes in the corner and shelves with designer shoes and purses. There are brand names like L.L. Bean, Talbots, Spiegel, Bass, Ann Taylor and Anne Klein.

This is Saints Sharewear - a store where the college's faculty, students and staff can come to buy donated clothes and accessories. The best part during a recession: Everything costs $1.

"I love it," Freeman said. "I shop for my grandkids and myself. Everything for a buck. With the economy the way it is now, you can't beat that."

The idea for the shop started late last semester when Santa Fe Provost Anne Kress had clothes she wanted to give way, said Kress' assistant Debi McElroy, who heads the volunteer group running the shop.

The store, which is open only on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., made $41 the first week, $125 the second week and $82 in its third week.

On this Wednesday, 10 employees and students packed the converted office space during lunch hour.

Santa Fe employee Pricilla Fort is there, just like she has been on every Wednesday since the shop opened. She's bought blouses, dresses and pants.

"When you live on a tight budget, this is the place to be," she said.

While the recession is closing many retail stores, this shop may need to expand, McElroy said.

She said the idea of the store is for the members of the college community to help each other out in these troubled economic times. The shop is only open to students, faculty and staff.

McElroy said the money made from sales is split three ways and is intended to be used for employees and their families. Some of the money will go toward a book scholarship fund for children of employees or employees who are enrolled in classes. There is also a fund set aside should an illness or some other reason put an employee's family in a financial crisis.

The remainder is put toward a fund for the school's career service employees.

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