Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Nifty Thrift store is daughter's effort to repay mother's love

LAND O'LAKES

Children in that part of the projects knew. If you wanted to learn to dance, there was a room on the sixth floor. There, a woman had given up space in her cramped New York City apartment to build ballet bars. She did it for her daughter, a dancer who wanted to teach children for free.

The woman was Patricia Goff, now 61. Her daughter, Frances Rojas, is now in her second week of business with her Land O'Lakes shop, Nifty Thrift by Pat with Love.

It's a long name for a thrift store, Rojas admitted with a laugh.

But the name is for her mother.

Rojas opened the store to repay her mother, who supported her financially for years. Half the store's profits have been set aside for Goff.

Not that her mother will accept the money, Rojas said, shaking her head.

• • •

The store is organized chaos, easy to navigate but filled with haphazard odds and ends. Nail polish rests on a table in the middle of the store, placed on top of a cream, red and black rug marked for $30. Shelves Rojas built line the walls, stuffed with plastic flowers, jars and dolls. An Avril Lavigne poster hangs on one wall with a tag listing it at $5. Clothes line the aisles in the back.

Rojas sat on a stool in the middle of this jewel box of memories and recalled her own.

Rojas, now 47, moved to Florida seven years ago with her daughter. She was living in New York City, and she was tired. She ran a dance school with 400 students and very little help.

Every year, she brought her daughter to Walt Disney World Resort. Driving by palm trees gave her peace.

She packed her car and left her school in the hands of a friend. She planned to work in real estate once she reached Hudson.

She moved at exactly the wrong time for this country's economy. The real estate market collapsed, and Rojas, who had already purchased her home, was stuck.

The lights were shut off. Bill collectors called. Rojas couldn't buy food. She lived in a dream house, but she couldn't afford to keep anything inside it.

Rojas kept the truth from her mother as long as she could. It eventually came out, and Rojas buckled and asked for help.

"I remember asking mom for $50," Rojas said. "She sent me $3,000."

For the next few years, Rojas steadily pushed herself back to her feet, aided by her mother, who paid most of Rojas' bills.

Rojas opened Grande Jete Dance School in Land O'Lakes and slowly drew in customers. She went through a divorce. She expanded her real estate business. Now, driven to somehow try to repay her mother, she has the thrift store.

"You can't go through this alone," Goff used to tell her daughter when she avoided accepting help. "It will get better."

• • •

Rojas is reverent when she speaks about her mother. Goff didn't have it easy, either, she remembers.

Goff teaches third grade in the Bronx. Her family grew up in a rundown area of New York. Rojas' first stepfather, who passed away several years ago, was abusive.

Rojas remembered her mother waking her up in the night, telling her they were going to grandma's. Goff didn't say, but Rojas knew. It was because her stepfather was drinking. He got drunk, and he got mean.

Talking about those nights, Rojas had an uneasy feeling in her stomach. "She used to cry to herself," Rojas murmured. "I don't want her to be hurt again."

• • •

Rojas has two projects. One was the thrift store. The other is a dream house for her mother.

Goff wants to move to Florida a few years from now, when she retires, to be close to her daughter. Rojas wants to have a house ready for her by then.

For now, Rojas honors her mother with a photo on the counter of the thrift store. It shows Goff in a suit, a bulky briefcase in one hand, outside a convention in Baltimore. She looks educated, poised and confident.

The way Rojas has always pictured her.

If you go

Nifty Thrift by Pat with Love is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It is located at 6755 Land O'Lakes Blvd. The thrift store features a "Lavender Sale" every Wednesday, half off all clothing. Donations and consignments are welcome.

.if you go

About the store

Nifty Thrift by Pat with Love is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It is located at 6755 Land O'Lakes Blvd. The thrift store features a "Lavender Sale" every Wednesday, half off all clothing. Donations and consignments are welcome.

Nifty Thrift store is daughter's effort to repay mother's love 08/10/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 10, 2012 9:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Virginia special agent

    Crime

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death.

    This image provided by the Virginia State Police shows law enforcement investigating the scene of a shooting early Saturday in Richmond, Va.   Special Agent Michael T. Walter, a Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death. Virginia State Police said in an emailed statement that Travis A. Ball of Richmond is being held without bond on charges that include malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. (Virginia State Police via AP)
  2. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  3. Forecast: Lots of sunshine, low humidity to start Memorial Day weekend

    Weather

    The start of your long Memorial Day weekend is all sunshine this Saturday, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Rick Kearbey.

    WTSP seven-day forecast on May 27, 2017.
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  5. Global computer outage grounds British flights

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)