BRANDON — Area residents looking to support LifePath Hospice with donations of clothing, household goods, furniture, jewelry and accessories no longer have to trek to Tampa, and shoppers seeking bargains on such items also can stay closer to home.
LifePath Hospice opened its first Brandon-area thrift store Monday at 1335 W Brandon Blvd. in the Brandon Plaza. It's the nonprofit's third store, complementing two other established outlets in Tampa.
All proceeds from the sales at the thrift stores go to support the end-of-life care programs that LifePath Hospice offers in Hillsborough County.
Despite a rainy day, store manager Cheryl Ann Haley said the shoppers came out and kept more than 20 volunteers busy, including a full day of processing donations.
"It's a fun place to shop, volunteer and donate," Haley said. "There's a little bit of everything from furniture and children's items to books and home decor."
LifePath Hospice, a subsidiary of Chapters Health System, opened its first thrift store in 2002 on S Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa and later expanded to Gunn Highway in Carrollwood. The nonprofit accepts new and gently used items and sells them at affordable prices.
The 9,000-square-foot store has a fresh coat of paint and invites shoppers to peruse clothes for men, women and children, as well as antiques, small appliances and holiday decorations. The store is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations are accepted at the collection area behind the store until 4 p.m. Pickup service can be arranged for larger items. Call (813) 653-4616 for volunteering, donating or shopping questions.
Haley said the store continues to seek volunteers to help with day-to-day operations including checkout, pricing and sorting. She added they could use someone with an expertise in jewelry and art valuations. Volunteers don't need retail experience, but must be at least 14 years old.
'Recycled' dress shop expands at La Viva
Valerie Boerner has helped make so many fairy tales come true in the past year, she is expanding her store in La Viva Plaza, moving the Cinderella Shoppe Bridal & Prom boutique six doors down to 768 W Lumsden Road to accommodate new inventory in time for the winter wedding season and homecoming dances.
Boerner said she began the business as an outlet to have fun working with items she likes.
The store specializes in dresses that have been worn once or not at all with a selection of sizes from 0 to 28.
"I am not new to the recycling business," said, Boerner whose husband, David, has owned Davidson Used Auto Parts in Tampa since 1997. "I decided to do something more girly."
At an average price of $300, wedding dresses are the staple of the business, but parents of teens also appreciate paying roughly $60 for homecoming dresses and $100 for prom dresses. Boerner also recently started offering pageant dresses and tuxedos.
"I started to make them available because they are so ridiculously expensive," she said.
The larger store boasts 2,200 square feet of formal wear including tiaras, veils, special occasion jewelry, crinoline, garters and wedding accessories. Customers can try on their items in three dressing rooms, then show off to their friends and family on one of two stages. Layaway service is available.
A grand reopening celebration is planned Oct. 3 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. where Boerner will serve wine and hors d'oeuvres. Store hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit weddingdressestampa.com.