The Network News. SHOPtalk. rewind! United States. Canada. Winter Souderton, Pennsylvania. Kitchener, Ontario

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1 Winter 2014 SHOPtalk Mennonite Central Committee Thrift Shop Network The Network News SHOPtalk rewind! This issue includes articles from the past 10 years of Shoptalk. United States Canada Souderton, Pennsylvania Thrift s Triple Treat By Sarah Bergin What is a Thrift Triple Treat? Care & Share Thrift Shoppes is committed to maximizing three treats: Donations, Volunteers and Shopping. By nurturing this balance, donations continue to increase, our volunteer base continues to flourish, which creates an awesome shopping experience. The result is increasing our annual donation to MCC. Wow! In 2009, while touring competitors stores in the Lancaster area, we learned of the outlet concept. Merchandise was piled high and customers dug through the piles and paid super low prices by the piece. We wondered, Would this bring more revenue than the baled price? Would our customers embrace this idea? Additional retail space opened up in our shopping center. The Furniture Shoppe doubled its space by moving to the new location. A Book Shoppe was created next to (continued on next page) The ribbon cutting of the brand new Thrift on Kent. Kitchener, Ontario Bringing the mall experience to thrift stores From the Waterloo Region Record By Valerie Hill Thrift has gone upmarket in Kitchener as the Mennonite Central Committee opened its new shop at 50 Kent Street on October 28. Thrift on Kent replaces the Generations Shop on Bridgeport Road and the Kitchener MCC Thrift Shop on Lancaster Street. Patty Ollies indicates shoppers are amazed at the unique shopping experience that has been created compared to the shops that were closed. The outlet shop provides customers merchandise at extremely low prices. 1 Kitchener had that little boutique feel and Waterloo was more urban, said Ollies, Thrift Shop Coordinator of MCC s thrift shops in Ontario. In putting the two shops together, that is what we are trying to create; we re allowing the personality of both shops to come together. The new shop provides considerably more selling and backroom space. Thrift on Kent will feature 17,000 square (continued on next page)

2 United States Canada (continued from previous page) feet of retail, backroom work space and storage area combined, located next to the Mennonite Credit Union. The new thrift shop will have features not incorporated into any of its shops up to now, not even the spacious New Hamburg Thrift Centre, which opened in 2000 and also replaced two smaller locations. Design features emphasize the organization s good work globally. For example, in one corner of the shop a group of volunteers will be making quilts and comforters blankets used in the committee s relief work around the world. A separate part of the shop will be outfitted like a garage and filled with items like tools and sporting goods. Judy Alderfer, outlet volunteer, fills the bins with merchandise for sale. (continued from previous page) Furniture. The time was right to try the outlet concept. The Shoppe opened in October Merchandise arrives at the outlet by one of two routes: 1. Not meeting the quality standards to be sold in the other Shoppes. 2. Item has gone through the price color rotation in the other Shoppes and did not sell. Thrift on Kent is accepting donations in a new drive-up system where volunteers and staff will help unload. The drop off opens daily at 8:30 a.m. to allow people to give donations on their way to work, said Ollies. There are also two loading docks, and the shop has purchased its own truck for large item pick up. Thrift on Kent will be part of the newly developed $13 million headquarters of the Mennonite Central Committee. The new headquarters replaced the much smaller original building occupied by the committee s offices over the past five decades. Currently merchandise sells between $.50 $.99 each. In January we will be selling by weight. Examples: clothing, $.89 a pound; housewares, $.49 a pound. During the first week of the outlet s opening, unfamiliar shoppers were thanking us for providing an opportunity to purchase items they could afford. Even with base-line pricing and careful price comparisons the pricing in the other Shoppes was not friendly to their budgets. The Outlet broadens our community outreach to an entirely different shopping demographic. Have you evaluated your Thrift Triple Treat? With careful, prayerful, continuous assessment we strive to find a balance to serve our community better. The new location, which combines two MCC thrift shops, includes spacious aisles and natural light. Upcoming Events Embrace the Movement MCC Thrift Shop Network Conferences MCC Thrift Shops in the United States April 7-10, 2014 Visit thrift.mcc.org/2014conference for more information! MCC Thrift Shops in Canada May 5-8, 2014 Visit thrift.mcccanada.ca/2014cdnconference for more information! 2

3 The Board Room Recruiting Directors by Edgar Stoesz Recruiting directors begins with asking the right person; someone known to have something to offer and with a heart for what you are requesting. I have heard people say You are the tenth person I am asking. Instead of casting a vision they lay guilt. They are obviously asking the wrong people. In short, don t ask persons who are almost certain to say no. Ask at the right time. Don t ask a tax accountant to be Treasurer on April 1! Don t ask a farmer while he is harvesting. If the timing is poor, the answer will not be good. Ask in the right way. I have had people ask me to do something that requires a huge investment of time by . So casual. Not good. My major askings are over a cup of coffee or even a meal, followed by a letter. I want them to feel, this is important. Have the right person do the asking. If you are recruiting for a major position, the Chair should do the asking. There are persons I can hardly say no to because of past favors they have done for me. Tit for tat works. Some boards have some shaping up to do before they can expect to attract good people. I know I hesitate to join a board that is known to be cliquish. Many boards demand twice as much time as is necessary because they are into micro management. Even busy people are looking for new challenges, but they must be convinced their time will be well invested. Which brings us to ask, What does your organization have to offer? Is it more of the same old just seeking a new face, probably with deep pockets or a prestigious name, or is there a vision for something the rocks are crying out for! Unless it has some urgency I am likely to say, Thank you for thinking of me. Sorry, I am not available. This also suggests, don t dumb it down. Don t hesitate to spell out what will be required. Some solicitors are so anxious to get a yes, they make the job look small and insignificant. Remember, only small fish are attracted by small bait. The formula is simple but achieving it is a challenge. Have something to offer, have the right person ask the right candidate in the right way at the right time. It works! Ask Edgar Question: I have questions about job responsibilities for the manager. How much time is reasonable to spend working on entering data into the computer and taking care of the finances of the shop? One to two hours a day? Five hours a day? In most shops, what percentage of the manager s time is spent actually doing the work of sorting and pricing? Or in most shops does the manager manage this work and not actually do the work? Anonymous Old Codger Answer: Managers are hired to manage. Management is the art of getting things done through delegation. Managers make assignments and solve problems. The great manager is not the one who does the work of two but who can organize the work of many. As a matter of practical fact, most store managers are not full time managers. They do a mixture of management and other work. But they give priority to management, and then perform other work only as time is available. To reverse the order is to neglect the management function. The manager that is so busy doing routine work, however urgent that may be, has a management problem. Also implicated by the question is the job description. What was the manager hired to do? If this is a persistent problem a new understanding should be arrived at, resulting in a revised job description. 3

4 Global Gleanings (Tip Post this page so it can be read by all volunteers and staff.) Increased response to urgent needs in Philippines By Marla Pierson Lester AKRON, Pa. As the devastation from Typhoon Haiyan continues to unfold in the Philippines, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is increasing its response to meet crucial needs for people on the eastern side of Leyte Island and working with partners to assess next steps for relief and recovery. MCC has now committed over $1.4 million to help meet urgent needs through partner agency Church World Service (CWS), including providing locally purchased emergency food packages and non-food items to improve sanitation and hygiene for some 3,750 families. This assistance will focus on Dulag, Tolosa, and Tabontabon municipalities, which are south of the city of Tacloban. Dan and Jeanne Jantzi, MCC s area directors for southeast Asia based in Thailand, are currently in Cebu City, Philippines, meeting with MCC partners who have returned from affected areas and helping to shape MCC s next steps in relief. In addition to emergency food packages, MCC support will provide items such as bath soap; detergent; towels; pails for carrying water and dippers for bucket showers; and malongs, traditional tube skirts that can be used as a towel, sheet, clothing for men or women or a baby hammock. Priority will be given to single-parent or childheaded households and households with pregnant or nursing mothers, children under two, the elderly and people with disabilities. Some 675 people were killed in Dulag and Tolosa, according to the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Almost all of the homes in Dulag were destroyed, and power and water had not been restored by Monday. Schools in Tolosa that had been identified as evacuation centres were badly hit by the typhoon. Tabontabon, while slightly farther from the coast, incurred severe damage as well and, as a small municipality, had attracted little attention from humanitarian organizations. Food is a critical need and important for Jeanne Jantzi, right, talks with teachers Janett Yubal, left, and Selvia Luna, center, about their experience with Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated parts of the Philippines in early November. Community members took shelter in the Dalinding village elementary school on the island of Cebu, until the winds blew away large swaths of roof. Jantzi, Mennonite Central Committee s (MCC) Southeast Asia area director with her husband, Dan Jantzi, visited the school to assess ongoing ways that MCC can respond to the disaster. (MCC Photo/Dan Jantzi) ensuring peace within the affected communities, according to the Jantzis. The Jantzis will continue meeting with partners in Cebu City, which has become a hub for typhoon relief, to assess needs and plan next steps for MCC s response. The Jantzis stress that as partners work to determine what is being provided through other channels MCC s future plans remain fluid and will be adjusted to meet the greatest needs in areas where MCC is at work. Marla Pierson Lester is publications coordinator for MCC U.S. To donate to this effort, please go to mcccanada.ca/typhoon (Canadian residents) and mcc.org/typhoon-response (USA residents). 4

5 Does your shop qualify for the clutter-bug award? by Barb Schrag Storing stuff has a cost. Most shops will readily admit they are savers, but most do not consider that storage does have a cost in time, energy and maintenance. Ask the following questions about what you are storing and the space you are storing it in: What if you had to rent the storage space you are using? How could the storage space be better used? Could the items in storage be offered for sale to customers by organizing a pricing blitz? Offer a pizza and pop evening for a team of energetic workers. Enough is enough Have you heard the story about the box donated to a thrift shop, neatly tied and labelled Pieces of string too short for any use? Some donations are kept with the idea that someday, someone will find a way to use them. Trying to create a use for a useless item is a waste of time. As clutter builds it can become an insurmountable task to attack the problem and this results in an overwhelmed feeling that no one is willing to face. The clutter creates feelings of guilt and discouragement for workers and volunteers. Give yourself permission to say enough is enough and then get rid of it. Sell it, give it away, or put it in the dumpster. Other solutions Are you ready to change the space and pace in your backroom? Here are some tried and true solutions being used in some MCC thrift shops: practice donation rotation by limiting the shelf life of all items to three weeks or less limit sorting of surplus clothing that will be sent on to other organizations limit the storing of seasonal items you have too many of sweaters, shorts, etc. consider block pricing all shirts $3.00; all pants $4.00 5

6 Telephone manners matter! by Barb Schrag When someone calls your thrift shop, your only interaction with them is verbal. The first person with whom the caller speaks becomes an ambassador for the entire organization saying the right thing is very important. Who is calling? The caller could be a potential customer, volunteer or donor who is not familiar with your shop. The first impression they are given will affect their decision to shop, volunteer or donate. Telephone Manners Training: 1. Create a standard phone greeting and post it by each telephone in the shop. Sample greeting: Good (morning, afternoon, or evening), your MCC thrift shop, speaking. What can I do for you today / How can I help you? Avoid answering a business phone in a way that may make the person on the other end feel uncomfortable or put on the spot (such as, Hello, What? or Who is this? ) The very first piece of information every single caller needs is to be assured they have reached the person or place they dialed. 2. Remind everyone that a good ambassador should speak clearly, be polite and offer to take a message or direct the caller to someone who can help them. Take a message: May I take a message? or I m sorry, he s busy at the moment. May I take your name and number and have him call you back? Direct a call to someone who can help: If the person who is calling asks you to help out instead and you don t feel comfortable or don t know the answer to their questions, it is always polite to say, I m sorry I don t know but I d be happy to pass the message on to John. Pass the message on: Taking messages is not helpful if the person they are for never sees them. If someone leaves a message, be sure to write down their name, phone number, date and time and the message then be sure to give the message to the person they were calling. Set up a message box or agree to leave messages in a certain place (on the bulletin board, in someone s in box, etc.). 3. Be convinced that good phone manners are an important marketing tool. Take time for the training necessary to ensure that your telephone enhances and supports the professional and positive image of your thrift shop. This issue of Shoptalk is written/edited by: Wilf Harms, Mennonite Central Committee Canada Thrift Shop Coordinator (204) Diana Miller, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Thrift Shop Development Coordinator (316) Graphic design: Julie Fast

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