By KATHLEEN SHAW
Daily News-Record 12/17/19
BRIDGEWATER — Tucked underneath the assisted living residents’ space at Bridgewater Retirement Community are trash-to-treasure items whose second chances at life serve more than to beautify a home.
The ReRun Shoppe is an entirely volunteer- based business composed of three retail spaces. Between the book room, clothing shop and bargain space, multitudes of discount goodies are sold, often in like-new conditions for as low as 50 cents a piece.
Laura Powell, director of volunteer services for Bridgewater Retirement Community, oversees the workers and said proceeds from boutique sales go directly to the community’s charity group. “As of Dec. 1, they’ve raised $25,000 — that’s a lot of quarters,” Powell said.
Doris Harsh is a co-manager of the shoppe who has been in the business for two decades. Walking around the nondescript downstairs hallways, Harsh shows off a storage room and shop office. The space is piled high with leftover knickknacks awaiting new life through the shoppe. No larger than a college dorm cell, she said the now dusty corner space was the original site of the donation shop, which opened in 1977 as the Thrift Shop.
“Some people got the idea of having this and the whole shop was in this room,” Harsh said. “When they started out, $13 was a big, big day.”
Now, the stores raise thousands of dollars each year, and proceeds benefit the Bridgewater Home Auxiliary, which undertakes community betterment projects for residents of assisted living and nursing households in Bridgewater Retirement Community.
Open to the public, the store works to provide affordable and quality goods for all people.
Bonnie Glick has lived in The Village, the independent living community, for 20 years and began volunteering as a clerk at the ReRun Shoppe 10 years ago after managing the Cottage Gifts shop and serving on the auxiliary board.
For shoppers like Glick, the store’s offerings are aligned with the quality and variety that compete with massive chain retailers and local boutiques alike.
“I love this place. I buy all my clothes here and at Costco,” Glick said.
Sharon Kiracofe is the second co-manager of the ReRun Shoppe who joined the team five years ago after her husband died. Harsh was originally a friend from church who invited her into the ReRun family as a morning helper, but Kircofe said working in the shoppe has lifted her spirits and brought more purpose into her life.
“It’s really a good outlet for us. I just can’t imagine getting up in the morning and not having anything to do,” Kiracofe said.
Bridgewater Retirement Community is located at 302 N. Second St. The ReRun Shoppe is accessible through the assisted living wing of Bridgewater Retirement Community, down the elevator to the lowest level and through the corridor. It is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“On occasion, they’ll have days when residents can come down and get free items. It’s a really good environment and very uplifting for many of our residents,” Powell said. “Shopping therapy for all ages.”