Community: Thrift shop like new after reorganizing

La Providencia Guild members, their husbands and friends worked like little elves over the holidays to clean and reorganize the thrift shop at 3301 W. Burbank Blvd. All proceeds go to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Thrift shop chairwoman Deborah Spang and husband, Ron, spent hours planning the project. Their objective was to make the shopping experience easier for customers.

Each year at holiday time, the guild has the floors stripped and repolished. This year, everything was placed into storage and, after the floors were done, shelves were cleaned, new racks were installed and signs were added to tell customers where to find items — and all in only eight days.

Deborah Spang wanted a more open look to the store so she replaced the cubicles and round racks with straight racks and opened up the shelves to hang more merchandise such as linens, she said.

She created a library at the rear of the store and has shelved the books on three walls along with family items such as games and DVDs. She added a chair to make browsing more comfortable. This helped the store's flow as the books had been on the wall midway back and people would crowd the aisle, making it hard to pass, she said.

Deborah Spang also got a great deal on a glass display case from a business that was closing. In addition, there is a new appliance rack and a wall of shelves filled with glassware.

The sorting room has also been reorganized. As soon as items are donated at the back door, they are placed on hangers. If it is not something they would sell, it goes into a bag for redonation. Items are stored in tubs that are color coded.

A sound system was installed so shoppers can enjoy music while they are perusing the merchandise, and guild members get a lot of positive comments on it, she said.

Guild members participating in the reorganization were President Rosemarie Witten, Joan Chandler, Sue Ann Gordon, Judy Gragg, Nancy Johnson, Lorelei Kelley, Pat Maskell, Irene Metzger, Ann O’Donnell-Gardner, Judy Pierce, Dee Dee Rowlands, Donna Sagona-Salant, Marje Simay, Lynn White-Shelby and thrift shop employee Shannon Mullens.

The men’s team was led by Ron Spang and included friends Mark Sandusky, Brad Welker and Tim Wells. Members’ husbands and friends joining in were Charles Chavoor, Chris Gargaro, Allen Katz and Dean Shelby.

Members Sue Ann Gordon and Chris Welker designed the new window displays and their yellow-and-gray color scheme is repeated throughout the store.

The changes have made a difference, Deborah Spang said, as sales have tripled, all for the benefit of Children's Hospital.


JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at

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