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Paul Krajnovic of Detroit and Rich Handloser of Grosse Pointe Farms. photo by Ann L. Fouty.

November 14, 2013
The word is out.

The Neighborhood Club Thrift Shop, 17670 Mack, City of Grosse Pointe, is open for business five days a week.

Located in the former carpet store at the corner of Mack and University, the thrift shop fills the 3,000 square foot building with children's, women's and men's clothing, household items, shoes, bed and table linens, books, gifts, small furniture pieces, CDs, purses, belts, outerwear and movies. The store also stocks high-end clothing, furs and leather. All items are donated either from estates or individuals.

"I come here all the time," said Sheila Ballard of Detroit. "I love the clothing. They have a variety of name brands and no names. It's good quality. I always find something."

Carla Holloway, of Grosse Pointe Farms, held up her bag. She purchased a pair of high-end printed jeans for $4, a Christmas bingo game for her grandchildren and glassware to hold her homemade applesauce she pairs with pork chops.

"I got this for $10," she said of the sack's contents. "I shop for everything here."

Holloway goes on to talk about the store's daily sales.

"They always have discounts. Today it is shoes," she said.

Thrift shop employee Fran Gough, of the City of Grosse Pointe, explained there is a monthly calendar on the Neighborhood Club's website listing the store's daily discounts.

For example, today's bargain is 40 percent off women's shoes; Friday, Nov. 15, books and picture frames are 50 percent off; and Saturday, Nov. 16, women's skirts and pants are 50 percent off, excluding designer and consignment items. On Tuesdays, senior citizens receive 20 percent off their entire purchase.

Seniors are regular customers. However, Gough said, since moving to the new site, new customers have found the store, in particular young families.

"It's like a neighborhood atmosphere," she said.

Ballard added she brings her teenage daughters to browse through the racks of sweaters, blouses and jeans.

"This is a good place to shop," Ballard said.

Paul Krajnovic of Detroit agrees.

"After working out I came here looking for bargains. I shop the local stores," he said.

He ran into Rick Handloser, of Grosse Pointe Farms, a fellow St. Philemona Catholic Church parishioner. Handloser had picked up a well-used basketball and a barometer with a golf scene on it.

"I have a room in the basement devoted to basketball and golf. I'm devoted to both sports."

In another part of the store, his wife, Diane, was looking at clothing.

"I bought a blouse and sweater for $8.90," she said.

Customers say they come back because the price is right, but they also return to engage with the staff.

"Everybody's fun," Gough said, "and friendly. Every day is different."

Gough said the store's proceeds support the Neighborhood Club and its programs.

In the late 1920s, Marion Jarves Alger and a few friends founded the thrift shop to help needy area residents, according to Neighborhood Club executive director Stuart J. Alderman.

"That was the beginning of what has been a successful local non-profit business ever since," he said in an e-mail.

Over time, the shop has moved to several locations but has always had the same purpose — "to provide money for the Neighborhood Club and good low-cost merchandise for the customers," Alderman said.

The Neighborhood Club Thrift Shop, 17670 Mack, City of Grosse Pointe, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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