St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

From left, Cheryll Westcott, Gloria Perez, Judy Miller and Carol Hedges work at St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in north Casper. Although it often flies under the radar of Casper residents, the nonprofit shop has been open for decades.

Alan Rogers, Star-Tribune

Gloria Perez is the manager at Casper’s St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, a place she calls “the hidden treasure in Casper.”

Tucked on the corner of East H and North Durbin streets in the north Casper area, the nonprofit resale shop has served Casper for decades.

What led you to this job? My background is retail. I spent over 20 years with Target and retired from there, then went back to my hometown of Torrington and managed a brand-new Family Dollar store for eight years. I missed Casper, so I came back. I go to church at St. Anthony’s and saw in the bulletin that St. Vincent needed some new volunteers, so that’s how I started. Then they needed a manager and I applied and got the job. I love it here.

Tell us about your volunteers. We have about 24 active volunteers. They are all dedicated people who truly love to volunteer. We have one person who is paid to relieve me one Saturday a month and if I need an extra day off, board members pitch in. We have a woman from the government program Experience Works who does an awesome job for us.

How is this different from other retail? It’s a very peaceful job. The customers who come in, you learn a lot from them. We have a lot of repeat customers and a lot of new who have now become our friends.

What are the secrets to successful retail? Knowing your customers. Their needs, their wants, and just knowing them, period. Everybody has a story and most of the time they are beautiful stories. I just never get enough of it.

Where do the profits go? All of our profits go to four local organizations — Seton House, Holy Cross Center, Interfaith and Meals on Wheels. We try to keep our prices low. We want to sell it, so it’s priced to sell. We are really low on sheets, blankets and comforters right now. People bring us brand-new comforters with tags still on and Pendleton wool blankets. We sell everything we get somehow, someway.

A roofing company buys all of our 100 percent cotton. Churches will call and say, “we are doing a clothing drive for our overseas missions,” and we sell them a bag of clothes for $10.

Will you give us a tour of the store now? In this room, we have all of our new donations. It’s our intake room. I’m sorry it’s such a mess. We’ve been really busy. We try to keep this room straightened, because we let people shop in here too. We accept donations when we’re open, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. We like to shut the donations off at 3 p.m., but sometimes that doesn’t happen.

This is our clothes area — here are the jeans folded and stacked by size, women’s clothing (we do have plus sizes), and infant and children clothing.

We have jewelry and shoes and purses and other accessories too.

In the back is our seasonal room, currently with a lot of Christmas decorating items.

Our housewares area has collectible glassware and small appliances, like this brand-new Mr. Coffee coffeemaker.

And we have books and games and Christmas cards and greeting cards.

Your hours once again? We’re at 301 E. H St. We’re open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. People need to come find us.

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS

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Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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