5 things you always want to know about the Thrift Shop (but didn’t ask)

FIVE THINGS YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE THRIFT SHOP (BUT DIDN’T WANT TO ASK BECAUSE YOU’RE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS THE ANSWER BUT YOU)

1. Where does your merchandise come from?

It comes from donations! Everything we sell has been donated to us – we don’t purchase any items for resale.  We accept donations at our back door (around the rear of the building) any time that the shop is open (on Fridays we take donations until 3 pm).

2. Why are the price tags different colors?

It’s an inventory management system that allows us to know how long an item has been in the store.  You don’t want to see the same things on the shelves month after month – and neither do we! Every month we change to a different colored tag, and after a certain period of time, we pull all the remaining items in that color.  The only exception is white tags, which are used for holiday merchandise and some of our specialty items such as antiques.  Besides – it’s more interesting to have different colors!

3.  What’s upstairs?

The second floor contains our Community Outreach Center, where we meet with clients of our different philanthropies such as Operation School Bell.  We also have an office, a small conference room, and our new mezzanine, where we store donations.

4.  What do you do with donations you can’t use?

We pass these items on to other non-profit groups.  Most of the donations that aren’t in good enough shape for our shop are given to the Salvation Army.  We also give things to several non-profits that aid veterans or the homeless, the Irvine Animal Care Center, and the Irvine Valley College Drama Department (they’re thrilled to get “vintage” clothing to use for costumes!).

5.  If I want to volunteer at the thrift shop, what do I do?

Tell one of our members at the shop (with the blue aprons!) that you’re interested.  We have several levels of volunteer support, from full ALI members to “community volunteers” who want to see if this experience is right for them.  We’ll ask you to fill out an interest form, and then our membership chair will contact you!

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Support Your Local Tax-Free Zone!

no sales taxYou’ve all heard of Duty-Free Shops.  Those shops at the airport, with security guards at the entrance and enticing displays of designer handbags, perfumes, and high-end liquor  in their windows.  You watch enviously as the lucky passengers with international tickets are shown into this magical place, where shoppers pay no sales tax or VAT because they’re about to leave the country. 

But you no longer need to gaze wistfully at the Duty-Free Shop and think about how wonderful it would be not to pay sales tax.  You can shop right here in Irvine – and not pay any sales tax! No saving for months to afford the plane ticket to Europe.  No two-hour drive to LAX during the morning rush hour so you can make it through airport security in time to board your afternoon flight.  No searching frantically for a spot in the long-term parking structure.  All this is behind you! Tax-free shopping awaits you!

At the ALI thrift shop, customers don’t pay sales tax.  That’s because we are a non-profit organization.  We’re able to obtain an exemption from sales tax by providing work training to a group of clients of Goodwill Industries.   These wonderful people work with us every week to help prepare our clothing donations to go out on the racks in the store. This improves their work skills and self-esteem, and we’re able to save our customers the sales tax.  It’s a win-win for everyone – and makes our thrift shop even more of a bargain for our customers!