Today is National Secondhand Wardrobe day. Seriously, it is! For more quirky holidays (and the reason behind them), check out this website (after you read the blog post, of course): nationaltoday.com/august-holidays/
Deep in the Virginia mountains, there’s a tiny hamlet called Upperville. Population 655. The heart of Upperville consists of a general store, gas station, Irish pub, and three churches. One of these churches, Trinity Episcopal, is built like a medieval cathedral. Upperville also happens to be in the center of Virginia horse country (think Kentucky Derby-type farms and horses) and has some of the most expensive real estate in the state. In contrast, it also has some of the poorest rural homes in the state. And the people who live there—both rich and poor—have lived there for generations. Generations dating all the way back to pre-Revolutionary days.
So what does Upperville have to do with second-hand clothing day?
Trinity Church--the largest church in town--is in charge of keeping the local food pantry stocked (a pantry that feeds families in three counties). And one of the ways they do this is through their Golden Rooster Thrift Shop.
The Golden Rooster Thrift Shop is housed in a Federal-style brick home built sometime between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. It has no air condition or heat. And many of the windows have the original glass panes. Yet, despite its humble appearance, this thrift shop makes enough money to keep the food pantry stocked year-round. And when the annual County Stable Tours take place in May, the thrift shop holds a “Boutique Sale” where they sell the best things they’ve collected all year. This sale could feed the entire state for a week. (I may be exaggerating, but not by much. J)
There are so many reasons to shop and donate to second-hand clothing stores, the most important being that recycling and reusing keeps things out of landfills. But this thrift shop in particular is famous because of the what they sell and how many people the proceeds feed on an annual basis. Because of its location, the Golden Rooster Thrift Shop is the place where some of the richest people in the state (maybe in the country) donate their used clothing, furniture, and other household goods. I’m not talking clothing from The Gap or Talbots (although they carry those brands), I’m talking about original Chanel jackets from Paris and Ferragamo shoes from Italy. Name the uber-expensive brand, and this humble thrift shop has sold it.
The amazing thing is that these things don’t sell for hundreds of dollars, but for tens of dollars so anyone can shop there. Despite the low prices, the shop makes more than enough money for the food pantry and its other social services. And, even more impressive, the shop makes all of their money between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Saturday morning because that’s the only time they’re open to the public.
The thrift shop is manned entirely by volunteers who sort through the huge piles of donations, arrange them in the shop, and sell them on Saturday mornings. And my daughter and nieces will openly admit that their entire wardrobe comes from the thrift shop. My daughter even bought her prom dress there(!) as well as all the clothes she took to college.
It’s hard to describe the vibe in the Golden Rooster Thrift Shop—it’s a combination of gratitude and happiness. The first few times we went there, we had to stop shouting at each other across the store with things like “Look what I found!” and “It’s a Lily Pulitzer!”. Once we got used to going, and started donating those things we felt were worthy, we slowly became a part of the church family that runs the place. On Saturday mornings, those who are donating gorgeous things are just hoping that those who are shopping will find exactly what they need. And those shoppers are thrilled to find things that they’d not purchase otherwise. Then there’s the truth that all of the money (cash only) made in those three hours go to the most important ministry of all—feeding the hungry.
So if you ever get a chance to pass through Upperville, VA on a Saturday morning between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., stop at the Golden Rooster Thrift Shop. It doesn’t look like much, but inside there’s magic fueled by generosity and love.
And once you’ve shopped, walk down the street to the Hunter’s Head Pub. Drink a pint of beer (or their home-made orange-vanilla iced tea) on the patio and talk to the locals. You may even hear stories about how, not that long ago, people rode their horses to town to eat, drink, and worship. And, of course, drop off their donations.
In Search of Truth
"Twisty plots, fantastic characters, and pitch perfect pacing. Fabulous!"—ALLISON BRENNAN, New York Times Bestselling Author
Buried treasure... buried feelings...all about to surface...
Anthropologist Allison Pinckney is stunned when she inherits the key to a seventeenth century pirate cipher that makes her the target of two brutal arms dealers. Now, to save those she loves, she must solve the cipher. With this perilous mission growing ever more dangerous, she reluctantly seeks help from ex-Green Beret Zack Tremaine, the one man she's been avoiding. Because if she gives into her long-buried feelings for him, it could cost them their lives.
Zack Tremaine is haunted by regrets. Years ago, he betrayed his men and lost the only woman he ever loved. Now that his men are caught in a fierce rivalry between two deadly enemies, his only hope is to team up with Allison. She holds the secret to a pirate treasure, and he must take the chance to save his men and redeem his honor. Even if she breaks his heart...again.
Deadly Force Series:
Every Deep Desire (Book 1)
One Dark Wish (Book 2)
In Search of Truth (Book 3)
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"Fast-paced...full of dark secrets, betrayals, and love reunited. Intriguing, with steamy romance and forbidden love..."--Fresh Fiction for Every Deep Desire
More About Sharon
Sharon is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes of novels of suspense, adventure, and love. A wife, mother of twins, and caretaker of Donut the one-eyed dog, she’s addicted to snapping photos and eating Oreos. She writes about the men in her Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets and their smart, sexy heroines retell Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.