History of the Thrift Cottage
How We Turn Apparel & Housewares into Mission Dollars
1211 Tenth Street. Coronado, CA 92118
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Open the 1st & Third Saturday of Each Month: 10:00am – 1:00pm
Saturday, Sunday, & Monday: Closed . Phone: 619.435.5380
The Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church Thrift Cottage is a bargain-hunter's paradise of toys, small household items, including working appliances, and quality apparel for women, men and children. The limited retail footage does not permit display of or sale of furniture. Imagine finding a vintage lace dress for $5 or a leather motorcycle jacket for $10! An all-volunteer staff dates all merchandise and methodically purges merchandise shelves and racks of older items to ensure that customers find constantly fresh wares. The Thrift Cottage is the only Coronado used-goods shop that accepts both donation items and consignment items. Excluding operating expenses and taxes, all sales support local charitable ministries and college scholarships.
Read about Thrift Cottage volunteer opportunities Here
The Thrift Cottage appears architecturally distinct from all its Victorian-era family members on the church campus. The explanation that follows is history compiled from Our First 100 Years, a 1988 publication compiled by Elizabeth Huser, researched and augmented with personal anecdotes by Margaret "Peg" Luedtke, volunteer church archivist.
Thrift Cottage History
Once upon a time—1947, to be exact—Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church relocated a former World War II WAVE barracks to 1211 Tenth Street, directly behind the church. After being carpeted, the barracks became the first of several church Sunday school annexes.
Years passed, Sunday school children grew up, married and had children of their own. The former barracks no longer met the needs of a burgeoning children's ministry, so, in 1969, construction began on what would be the current Center for Christian Education at 949 C Avenue. The unused Tenth Street Sunday school annex began a new life as a storage building.
Meanwhile, the idea of reselling good-quality used household items and apparel had become a popular trend. In the late 1950s, a Coronadoan named Regina Turner re-purposed her home as a used-clothing resale shop—called Tots and Teens—on Ninth Street, across the street from Christ Episcopal Church. When Turner decided to terminate her business, Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church took over the operation and renamed it Thrift Cottage, a subtle reference to the Scottish heritage behind the Presbyterian denomination. Hoping to increase foot traffic, the church moved the newly acquired operation to a storefront location on Orange Avenue. But in 1982, the Paciﬁc Bell Telephone Company bought the building, and the Thrift Cottage lost its lease.
From Barracks to Bargain-Hunter’s Heaven
The church Session approved a motion to renovate the former barracks in preparation for new Thrift Cottage occupancy. All summer long, church volunteers emptied contents from the building, cleaned the premises, and transported store contents from Orange Avenue. The Thrift Cottage reopened its Tenth Street doors to the public on January 24, 1983.
Cast-Offs Generate Nearly $2,800 a Month
Now entering its twenty-seventh year in the same location, the Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church Thrift Cottage is a thriving source of revenue. In 2009, our humble Thrift Cottage reported cash sale receipts of $57,217. After operating expenses and taxes, the remaining $34,849 went to the Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church Women’s Coordinating Team, essentially a committee of women members that decides how to distribute funds raised by their own committee events as well as by the Thrift Cottage.
Jean Watson, church member, Chancel Choir member, and also Thrift Cottage director, frequently tends the Thrift Cottage till and records the purchases. Jean reveals that, while some donors request small consignment fees, other donors drop off contributions with no expectation of a returned percentage of sales.
A visit to the Thrift Cottage is a pleasurable experience that leaves one surprised at how so few volunteers feed our church ministries so effectively. Although modest in size, the Thrift Cottage sales ﬂoor is neat and well organized and consistently draws a following of shoppers who know and appreciate designer labels at bargain-basement prices. In fact, even some of our own church members have taken home wonderful wardrobe additions, each for less than $10.
Do we have your attention now?