Purchase photos

Thrifty idea spurs Victoria shop




VICTORIA -- The Christmas shopping rush might be finished, but there are bargains to be had at St. Fidelis Gift and Thrift Shop.

Whether browsers are looking for a compelling mystery to curl up with or a "new" dress for a Saturday night date, the shop is likely to have just the thing.

Best of all, the purchase goes to help others in need and recycles gently used items.

The shop is located at 407 Main and is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays.

Frank Brungardt donated the use of the former F&M Insurance building rent-free to the group for a year.

The thrift shop, which opened Nov. 4, is the brainchild of Jan Brungardt, St. Fidelis parish secretary, and Rosie Kreutzer.

"I just opened my mouth and said we needed one," Kreutzer said with a laugh.

Father John Schmeidler also liked the idea. Since St. John the Evangelist Parish in Lawrence where Schmeidler had served before coming to Victoria had a thrift shop, he was familiar with the stores.

"We have a lot of different people coming in asking for different needs," Schmeidler said. "The reason for a thrift store for us is if they need clothes or shoes, we can send them down here, (and) it generates money to help the poor."

"I have wanted to do it for awhile," Brungardt said. "I thought it would be wonderful, and it is."

The shop is run by volunteers. Most work one day a week.

Jo Sander and Wilma VonLintel are on the Monday shift.

VonLintel started the second week the shop was opened, and Sander a month later.

Volunteering was an easy decision for both.

"They needed help," VonLintel said.

"It's for the church," Sander said. "I thought, I'm a widow. I live alone, and it'll get me out of the house once a week or so. I've always enjoyed going to garage sales."

Donations of clothes, knickknacks, dishes, toys and books continue to pour into the shop from throughout the area, Brungardt said.

Besides helping customers, volunteers sort the items and price them before putting them out for sale.

The merchandise showcases a large variety, and the shop is bursting at the seams.

"We need more room is the problem. We have more stuff than room," VonLintel said.

So the group is expanding to a second building. The "old post office" located one door down will have furniture and other large items for sale.

There are approximately 20 volunteers who work at the shop. Brungardt was pleasantly surprised so many came forward.

"I think they're pretty excited to come to work," she said.

"It's workers that make it happen," Schmeidler said.

It's an opportunity for them to serve the church and the community, he said.

Some days are busier with shoppers than others, but "people are finding us. It's much better than I thought it would be," Brungardt said.

Millie Windholz, Victoria, is a regular at stopping in to see what's new.

"I like to come in here," she said as she browsed through the store.

"The main thing is just to help people with needs," Schmeidler said. "If they can't afford it, we write them gift certificates. It truly is for them, so we won't be charging them if they can't afford it."

Proceeds from the shop go to the assistance fund to help the poor and to stock the parish food pantry.