In 2021, Haven Hospice’s combined five Attic Resale Stores had the best year in store history making more than $3 million in gross sales.
The stores, located in Gainesville, Chiefland, Lake City, Orange Park and St. Augustine, experienced a “see-saw year,” according to Haven Manager of Retail Business Stormy Palmer-Porter. Palmer-Porter said that even though stores performed well, 2021 was their most challenging year, having been impacted by COVID-19 and the lowest volunteer participation rate in years. A combination of factors, including a strong last quarter, helped the Attics overcome these challenges and have an overwhelmingly successful year.
Attic Resale Store management largely attributes this year’s earnings to customer counts, market trends, strategically timed product, and the dedication of volunteers.
The stores began to see shopping patterns change in 2021, namely the influx of much younger shoppers coming to the stores to buy unique items and discover a different type of retail world. Manager of Attic Volunteer Services Clay Dzioba said this goes hand-in-hand with some of the market trends that helped the Attic stores flourish. “People overall are cutting down on spending a little bit and secondhand consumerism is increasing,” said Dzioba. “People want to donate items to a cause instead of sending it to a landfill.”
Merchandise at the Attic is generated by donations, and all sales financially support the Haven mission- patients and families- as well as many other people in the community served by Haven programs and services.
Holiday merchandise made a particularly significant impact in the last quarter. Dzioba said the Attics had less holiday merchandise than usual, but that their supply still impressed customers. “Many of our customers told us that we had more holiday items than other big box stores like Dollar General, Family Dollar and Walmart. While those stores were apparently experiencing shipping delays and had empty shelves, Haven’s Attic shelves were full of holiday merchandise collected throughout the year via generous donations.”
Palmer-Porter extended Haven’s thanks to the donors who have supported the Attics through tough times, and said they look forward to seeing supporters as shoppers and donors throughout 2022.
Dzioba added, “It was our customers and donors who made this year successful, period. If Haven didn’t have the positive reputation it does in the community, this wouldn’t have happened. Knowing what type of organization Haven is encourages more people to visit our locations. They share their positive experience with Haven and let us know all their donated items will come to us because of the level of care their loved one received at home or in one of our hospice care centers.”
The Attics are beginning to see an uptick in volunteers as work-from-home arrangements give people more freedom with their time and because vaccinations are more widely available than they were at the beginning of the year. The five stores depend on volunteers to operate. Palmer-Porter said those volunteers who were flexible and dedicated during COVID-19 made all the difference, and they also look forward to welcoming new, eager volunteers in 2022.
Store improvements were also made in 2021. Palmer-Porter said due to the COVID-19 environment, Haven’s Attic Resale Stores were able to take time to rebuild and change the stores, making them look new and fresh. “We spent more effort turning around the stores so customers feel like they’re shopping in a retail store, not a thrift store,” said Palmer- Porter. “The Attic Retail Stores are real stores with great prices.”
If you’re interested in becoming involved with Haven’s Attic Resale stores, please visit https://BeYourHaven.org/Attic for more information.