Veterans thrift store to open in Tenley Court

Thrift shop owners hope to help those who serve
Owners and volunteers at the American Veterans Thrift Store in Tenley Court are gathered at the new shop. Shown are (l-r) Preston Cooley, Ida Stidham, Liz Cooley, and Dorothy and Dean Bergkoetter, who are organizing donations for display and getting ready for the opening Saturday, March 1. BY MOLLY MACMILLAN
February 28, 2014

The new American Veterans Thrift Store is set to open Saturday, March 1, and owner Liz Cooley said she's opening the new nonprofit store to serve the veterans and current members of the armed forces who serve the nation.

"We found a real need to help our veterans, so all this has come out of our pocket," Cooley said of rent and initial setup costs for her shop at the north end of  Tenley Court on Route 1 near Lewes.

Cooley and her family will open the shop at 10 a.m. with help from an initial staff of 18 volunteers.

As for stock, Cooley said it didn't take long to receive donations after word got out the nonprofit will serve veterans.

"There's a gentleman from Rehoboth who gave us everything from his condo in Towson, [Md.] because we are supporting veterans and wounded warriors," she said.

Members of the Cooley family and volunteers will accept donations during all business hours and can arrange to pick up large donations, Cooley said.

The thrift store carries furniture, home accessories, jewelry and clothing. The owner said they will accept most textiles, and she can recycle some seemingly unsellable shoes and clothing in Baltimore where there's a company that buys by the pound and sends shipments to Third World countries.

They will be more discriminating with donated electronics, volunteer Ida Stidham said, and only newer electronics in working order will be accepted.

"It's thrift store pricing, and the nicer items will be priced specifically," Stidham said.

Cooley said she plans to use funds from the sale of donated stock to partner with local veterans organizations and provide help for those who served.

"If we have veterans in need that come in, we will take care of them," she said. "We've been blessed, and we can really give back to the community to help our vets."

Cooley said she previously managed thrift stores in the area and discovered a need for assistance among many local veterans. She was shocked by the number of homeless veterans in the Cape Region and decided more should be done locally to help them.

Once herself affiliated with the armed forces and the wife of an army veteran, Cooley said helping veterans is close to her heart. With husband Preston's encouragement, she moved forward with the new thrift store.

"They've got thrift stores here for the arts, addiction, the hospital, cats and dogs," Preston said. "There's a thrift store here for everything. They are all good causes, but our preference and cause is for the vets."

American Veterans Thrift Store, 34396 Tenley Court, will be open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call the store at 302-703-6406.



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