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Mike is one of our originals. He’s been volunteering at Resale Depot since the week after we first opened. He started out as a cashier, but 5-6 years ago he moved on to be our non-fiction book guy. He volunteers here once or twice a week whenever he can. His wife, Sue, also volunteers here and helps out with the children’s books. They have three children and seven grandchildren all spread out across the country, living in Texas, Idaho, and Florida.

Mike was born in Mississippi, but has moved all around the world. He traveled around Europe while living in Germany for a while. He served in the Navy during Vietnam from 1963 to 1965, which gave him the opportunity to travel around the Pacific. After the Navy, he went to John Brown University, a small Christian school in Arkansas, for 5 years to become an electrical engineer. He worked at Consumers Energy for a while and married Sue in 1977. Then he switched to Commonwealth Electric Company, which he retired from about nine years ago. Now he drives buses for Spring Arbor University and Jackson Christian Schools.

Mike also has lots of hobbies to keep him busy. He got his pilot’s license and belonged to a flying club, but when he had kids his priorities changed. “I just couldn’t justify the expense anymore. I wasn’t making any money off of it.” He is also into ham radio, he likes to fish, he reads history books, and he has a garden and an orchard of hazelnuts, chestnuts, and apples. “I never hurt for things to take up time. I’ve always got plenty to keep me going.”

Mike started volunteering here because his kids went to Jackson Christian Schools, which used to own Resale Depot. However, he continues to volunteer here because money is given to Jackson Christian Schools for every volunteer hour he works. “It keeps me occupied and out of trouble and it’s for a good cause.” Mike especially likes working in books. “You see the same ones over and over again and you start to think you’ve seen ‘em all.” Thank you Mike for the many many hours you have put into this store and for being one of our most reliable volunteers. We really appreciate all you do for us!

Sue and Linda, better known around here as “The Grandmas”, come in every second and fourth Wednesday of the month to help hang and sort clothes. Sue has been volunteering at Resale Depot for eight years, and Linda for six. They are sisters- in-law. Linda is 68, has been married for 52 years, and has two sons and two grandchildren. Sue is 73, has been married for almost 52 years, and has three sons and eight grandchildren. Sue used to work at Hanover-Horton Schools in childcare and as a preschool teacher. Linda was a homemaker most of her life. However, after her kids were all in school, she got a job as a kitchen supervisor at Arbor North for six years.

Sue and Linda both started volunteering here to support Jackson Christian Schools, which owned Resale Depot at the time. Even now that the store has changed ownership, their volunteer hours still fund Jackson Christian Schools, where Sue’s granddaughter attends. Sue likes volunteering here because she doesn’t have any heavy responsibilities, in comparison to working a real job for so long. “It’s mindless work. We can just come in and do our thing, we don’t have to think about it.” Linda says she just likes to get out of the house and do something. “It gives us a day together, and then we get to go to lunch after. Once in a while we find a good outfit too!” Their only complaint is that their boss is a Michigan State fan. “It’s tough to tolerate. We decorate his office every now and then with U of M stuff.”

Despite our different opinions on sports teams, we love our Grandmas. They have been here since the beginning and it wouldn’t be the same here without them. Thank you Sue and Linda for your many years of service with us!

Thrift shopping hit a record high in 2018 and is projected to keep growing in popularity. People are buying second hand because it is cheap, it helps the environment, it does not support the unethical practices of fast fashion brands, and thrift stores help communities. The second-hand shopping industry reached a record high of $24 billion in 2018. Sales have been on a steady climb from $11 billion in 2012 and are projected to reach $51 billion by 2023 according to ThreadUp, the leading online resale company. The modern-day ‘thrift shop’ is a relatively new concept which emerged after the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840). Until the past few decades, most people had only a few articles of clothing and used them for as long as they could. As clothing became more mass-produced, it became more affordable. This allowed people to buy more clothes and get rid of clothes they did not want, therefore creating a market for thrift shops. In 1879, The Salvation Army came to the US and in 1902, Goodwill was founded. In 1919, the term “thrift shop” was coined and the 1920s saw the rise of consumerism. During the Great Depression (1929-1941), Goodwill opened almost 100 stores. In 1995, eBay and Craigslist were founded. During the Great Recession (2007-2009), resale stores saw sales increase 35 percent. Time Magazine writer Olivia Waxman, said when thrift shops first came out, “there was a stigma attached to wearing used clothes… The items themselves [were] a sign of a lack of money.” Perceptions of thrift shopping have changed. Now people of all socioeconomic classes shop second-hand. According to ThredUp, luxury shoppers buy second-hand more than value chain shoppers do. In 2018, 26 percent of women either bought or were willing to buy second-hand. Thrift shopping is gaining popularity fastest among Millennials and Gen Z. According to ThreadUp, 18-37 year olds are adopting second-hand apparel 2.5 times faster than other age groups. “It’s cheaper and it leaves less of a carbon footprint,” said Spring Arbor University Student, Celeste Fendt. Kaylee Clayton, another SAU student said she buys second-hand clothing because it is good for the environment. It creates less demand for clothes. “Just one shirt takes more than 700 gallons of water to make,” said Clayton. Buying second-hand is also good because “you’re not creating demand for or supporting companies that use bad practices like human trafficking, poor treatment of workers, and hazardous working conditions,” said Clayton. Thrift shopping reuses garments instead of throwing them out, reducing the amount of textile waste produced. According to, the average American throws out about 82 pounds of textile waste each year, most of which ends up in landfills where it produces toxic greenhouse gasses as it decomposes causing global warming. Most thrift stores also give to charity and help the community. Resale Depot gives all of its profits to local Christian ministries and church plants. In 2018, we gave away over $70,000. We also partner with local charities to provide job training, donate items to people in need, and recycle hundreds of items daily.

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