As many consumers scale back on purchases and tighten purse strings in an uncertain economic landscape stymied by job loss and instability, the in Larchmont provides a welcome alternative to the high cost of paying retail.
Yesterday’s grand opening celebration of the thrift store—after a summer hiatus—proves that after almost six decades in business, the store run by the Junior League of Westchester on the Sound (JLWOS) is still a vital part of the community. The store carries standard items like apparel, shoes, jewelry and other bric-a-brac donated by people as close as Larchmont-Mamaroneck and as far as the Bronx. And, as the name Golden Shoestring suggests, it’s still possible to snag “big-ticket” items on occasion such as fur coats, designer pieces and estate jewelry, for a fraction of the original cost.
The people shopping at the thrift store are as widely varied as the merchandise carried here, ranging from young people looking to put together original and ironic outfit combinations to moms looking to get a bargain on necessities for their kids.
“It’s a great addition to the community and serves a great purpose,” said JLWOS Spokesperson Stephanie Fougere, touting the benefits of the store.
Golden Shoestring is staffed by JLWOS members and operates off donations from the community, said Fougere, acting as “fuel for the rest of the organization.” Proceeds from the store fund JLWOS programs like Project Madres, a mentoring program for Spanish-speaking women in Larchmont and Mamaroneck; “Done in a Day,” a new initiative to provide resume advice to jobseekers; and S.M.A.R.T. Girls, a mentoring program that works in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle.
“It serves a niche—people rely on it to find great stuff for their family,” said Fougere, continuing, “We go through items thoroughly and take pride in putting good things on the rack.” The store only accepts donations of items in like-new condition.
After so many years in the community, the store has a loyal customer base that keeps coming back and is “treated like family,” said Fougere.
“Not every store puts out that effort,” she said.
Assistant Manager of Golden Shoestring and former JLWOS president Ronnie McGovern has been a JLWOS member for 25 years. Although the store still has strong presence, previous years have shown a more steady influx of customers particularly on opening day, she said, which could potentially be an effect of the sluggish economy.
Economic uncertainty may cause some to keep a steely grip on their wallets, but many are still happy to find a bargain, particularly if the proceeds benefit a charitable organization like the JLWOS.
“People are trying to be more conscious of their belongings—now it’s cool to be green,” said Fougere.
The Golden Shoestring is located on 149 Larchmont Ave. in Larchmont, (914) 834-8383. Hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Donation hours are Wednesday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Donations of clothing, household items and small working appliances will be accepted; please visit the JLOWS website here for a complete list.