Lawanna's Thrift Store

Lawanna Anderson opens business with customers in mind


Lawanna Anderson sits outside Lawanna's Thrift Store.

LEE FERINDEN/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 1:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 1:34 p.m.

An HP Photo Smart C4180 All-in-One printer, scanner and copier and a medium-sized Michael Jordan No. 23 Chicago Bulls throw-back jersey are two of the thousands of items for sale at Lawanna's Thrift Store.

Owned by Lawanna Anderson, 58, the store at 230 NE 2nd St. opened nine months ago in the nearly 6,000-square-feet building that formerly housed Gainesville Hydraulics.

The thrift store also is stocked with all sorts of reading material, including cookbooks and National Geographic magazines from 1996 to 2011, as well as cassettes and CDs, clothing, furniture, an organ, recliners, a sewing machine and more.

"Whatever Walmart has, I have," said Anderson, who started working in the thrift store business at the age of 16 while growing up in Fresno, Calif. She said the church she attended in Fresno owned a thrift store, where she used to work, which has sparked her lifelong interest in thrift stores.

A former private duty nurse, Anderson lived in Gainesville while taking care of her grandchildren, but she left, and returned nine months ago from West Palm Beach, where she also owned a thrift store. She also owned a thrift store in Gainesville that was located in the building that currently houses a church on NW 10th Avenue between Zaxby's and Mac's Burgers.

Anderson, who has five children and 16 grandchildren, said she will be adding an indoor flea market in the near future at her new location.

"I am opening the flea market to be a blessing to other vendors," said Anderson, as a steady flow of customers browsed around the store, prompting her to say, "People just come in here like this all day."

Will Hiler, 21, and several of his friends were among those browsing. After looking around, he picked out a Hawaiian shirt to buy.

"It was kind of an impulse thing," Hiller said. "we just pulled in here because we thought it would be interesting to come in here and see what they had, and I ended up buying this shirt."

Arron Thomas, 21, a friend of Hiler's, purchased an Hawaiian shirt and a pair of flowery pants. "I just came in here to look around with the guys and found something I liked," said Thomas, of northeast Gainesville.

Anderson said she loves the location of the store because it gives her a chance to "meet very diverse people." A member of the Christian Science Church on NW 16th Avenue, Anderson said she routinely gives small donations to local churches and people in need. She said she recently donated some furniture to a single mother and her two children whose apartment in southwest Gainesville was completely empty.

"Sowing seeds with smaller churches and people in need just makes me feel good," said Anderson, while flashing a smile. She said the store is also in need of donations in order to be a blessing to more people. "Both of my parents were missionaries and God has just blessed me to be able to do this."

Hours of operation are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 352-431-6279.

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