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Re-Runs: Selling the used to help seniors

By on November 29, 2017 in Articles with 0 Comments

Travis Farrar with his son, Dylan, look at a Christmas tree at Re-Runs.

photos and story

By Vicki Olson Carr

In bygone days an assembly of apple warehouses and packing sheds dating from the 1940s, a café, a fish hatchery and several homes made up the little community of Chelan Station, where packed fruit was loaded onto railroad cars for shipment.

When larger fruit co-ops took the apple industry away, this little spot by the train tracks along the Columbia River became a quiet, lonely place of empty warehouses with only a train running nonstop through it now and then.

This scene changed several years ago when Highway 97 was re-routed along the east side of the Columbia River from Wenatchee and Beebe Bridge brought traffic into the area.

Now Chelan Station is a beehive of activity from winemaking and bottling to boat and RV storage, and home to a fruit packing supplier, a freight company, a U-Haul outlet and a second hand store called Re-Runs.

Re-Runs keeps expanding as donations come flooding in from people who are downsizing, relocating or redecorating.

Local and transplanted retired members of the senior center were the ones who planned and opened the second hand store to earn funds to support the Chelan Senior Center at 534 East Trow Avenue in Chelan.

Barbara Brouner used her energy and her organizational skills to manage Re-Runs for six years.

Barbara Brouner managed the store for six years. She enjoyed encouraging others to join in the job of sorting, cleaning, dusting and pricing donations to sell.

“This was enjoyable to me,” she said with a smile. “It really was…” Barbara especially enjoyed arranging donations into what she called “seasonal” displays with themes that were appropriate during the calendar year: Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, summer time, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Right now Re-Runs has nooks and crannies full of Christmas goodies, from pre-lit artificial Christmas trees to wreaths to colorful lights, candles, figurines and angels, to that jolly gift giver himself named St. Nicholas, Father Christmas or Santa Claus.

Relatives and friends bring in children whose eyes light up with wonder at all the beautiful Christmas decorations.

John Olson, a Tacoma realtor retired back to hometown Chelan, has been building shelves for the room filled with building materials and electrical and plumbing supplies. Sports equipment was added to the mix designed to appeal to male shoppers.

Other volunteers decided the area should be named John’s Man Cave.

John said he had three reasons why he chooses to work at Re-Runs.

First, the Chelan Senior Center has a financial shortfall and the money from this store makes up for that. Next, Re-Runs helps people with estate dissolutions by accepting donations, and that helps the environment by keeping stuff out of the landfills.

“But, most importantly, Re-Runs helps people who just don’t have very much to get what they need,” he said.

John and retired Chelan teacher Ron Huffer do all the heavy lifting and furniture displays.

Seasonal items are included in a range of used goods at Re-Runs.

Antique dealer Marilyn Grover drives over each week from Douglas County where she and her husband reside in Douglas’s former general store and post office, which is also full of antiques. She is assistant manager and takes care of the book room also known as The Library.

Marilyn is very busy now making the Christmas displays appealing to customers. Early in November one customer bought $600 worth of second-hand Christmas merchandise, as a result.

Eight volunteers in all have kept Re-Runs open and running Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Volunteer Janet Liberty was a high school business teacher in the Bellevue School District and also retired to her hometown.

“I do a lot of work behind the scenes down here,” she said, “unpacking and sorting donations, restocking shelves, breaking down boxes and taking them up to the recycle center. I spent a lot of this summer sorting through Christmas things… and I love working for an organization which is useful and so giving to others.”

Tor Bloss, a new Chelan resident and volunteer, had two successful booths in an antique center in Snohomish for several years: Remember When and Cathie’s Attic.

She turned a three-story house in Sedro Woolley into Picket Fence Antiques, another profitable endeavor.

Now Tor uses her knowledge and savvy every week to carefully price collectables and vintage items. She’s also the markdown expert.

Re-Runs is a good place to find low-priced furniture and household items. There are often a dozen vehicles lined up at the door, and cashiers often have to work fast to keep the check out line moving.

But Barbara said with a grin, “That busyness was a good thing. . .and now that I’ve retired I hope Re-Runs will continue to be a place where people can enjoy shopping for what they need and want.”

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