These days seem to be interesting times for many.
Young, growing families in need of a new bed or clothing for the kids are looking for something to fit their budget. Where can people go to buy cheap goods?
Others who have reached a new phase in life as empty nesters are looking to downsize. Where can people go to get rid of stuff no longer needed?
In times such as these, The PROP Shop in Eden Prairie has become a timely resource for everyone.
Fifteen years ago, The PROP Shop was established as a separate entity from PROP Food Shelf, to take donations of gently-used furniture, cookware, clothing, books and other household goods and re-sell them at bargain prices.
In the case of families in more difficult circumstances, The PROP Shop supplies badly needed household goods to them for free. It currently helps 750 families in Eden Prairie and Chanhassen who need support.
Each week, nine staff and 125 volunteers run the daily operations at The PROP Shop, 15195 Martin Drive, which is open seven days a week.
Since its beginning, more than 3,500 people have volunteered their time and energy. Thirty-thousand individuals and local businesses have donated goods they no longer need to find a new life in service of other families. Between 300 and 350 families turn to the resale shop each month for assistance.
Rändi Flagstad, who heads up The PROP Shop’s housewares department, talked about what’s special about the shop. She pointed out that more people, these days, are shopping in the thrift market.
“The most interesting people come in,” she said.
With recycling becoming increasingly important for the climate, she pointed out the important role the shop is playing in this regard.
“Goods get recycled and they get re-loved,” she said. “They still have life to give others.”
Vintage items – clothing, furniture and dishware – have always been popular. Flagstad explained that she is a vintage lover. She recounted a recent vintage item that had hit the shop’s shelves – a high school yearbook from Bob Dylan’s high school, and his class photo was in it.
On Nov. 4-5, The PROP Shop will have a huge sale of vintage merchandise at the Cummins-Phipps-Grill House, 13600 Pioneer Trail, across from Flying Cloud Airport.
It is part of the Cummins Farmhouse Market and Vintage Sale hosted by the Eden Prairie Historical Society.
Flagstad, who is the lead volunteer for the sale, said that she and her fellow volunteers (“The Sticker Girls,” she calls them) will be pricing up 200 bins of vintage merchandise for this event. Much of it, she said, is vintage decorations as well as other goods.
Just in time for Halloween, The PROP Shop is selling merchandise such as clothing with a “red slash” on the tag at 50% off the regular price. The sale continues through Oct. 31.
Flagstad also mentioned that every Thursday is “Senior Day,” when senior citizens can purchase items at 15% off the regular price.
If your interest in The PROP Shop has more to do with what you can donate, the shop is always looking for “secret shopper” volunteers. The shop gives these volunteers a list of items that families may need. The volunteers then go out to either find these goods in “gently-used” condition or purchase them new and donate them.
Flagstad summed up her experience as an employee and volunteer with The PROP Shop this way: “I’m so lucky to live my life spreading joy and working with others whose hearts are in the right place.”
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