Non-profit thrift store reopens after pipe burst
NOANK, Conn. (WFSB) - It has been nearly three months, but the “open” sign has finally flipped at The Corner Closet Community Thrift Store in Noank.
“Oh my gosh, (it’s) totally different, what a transformation,” customer Kathleen Hall-Lanteri said.
Nearly 57 years ago, the store opened its doors for the first time. It had done so every week since. That is, until December 26, 2022.
“I came in to shop and when I walked in I saw the water, the stains, everything was a mess and she handed me some black garbage bags and said ‘we need your help,” Hall-Lanteri said.
A burst pipe in the apartment above the store left water seeping into the store. It went onto the store’s shelves and molded them. It also damaged some product.
“We lost some, about 20 white bags worth,” store volunteer Betsey Goetsch said. “The rest we were able to give to other thrift stores so we were fortunate to be able to pass that on.”
It took about three months, lots of work and time closed, but on St. Patrick’s Day, the store finally reopened. But what makes this store so special? Well, it’s not really a store.
“We live on donations, people give us things, we all volunteer and we give our profits back into the town,” Goetsch said.
She is one of the original volunteers from 1966. She and a group of worshippers known as “The Evening Circle” at the nearby Noank Babtist Church run the store.
They rely on the good hearts of the people near and far from Noank to get donations to sell. The profits go to people and places who need it: like families around the holidays, community meal centers and daycares.
“I got a phone call from a woman in Texas who summers in Groton Long Point and she said ‘I’d like to send you some jewelry’ and I was like ‘wow, sure,” Goetsch said of a recent donor.
In May, The Corner Closet will celebrate 57 years of existence. Unless the unexpected happens again, The Evening Circle looks forward to more philanthropy.
“It’s nice that this place is still here,” Hall-Lanteri said. “I love coming here.”
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