Seconds on Third
By Steven Hoffman
First-time visitors to Seconds on Third in Oxford are usually impressed—and maybe surprised—by the quantity and quality of items that are for sale in the thrift shop that benefits the Oxford Area Neighborhood Services Center.
The store regularly carries everything from furniture and housewares to toys and books to clothing and even jewelry, but you never really know what you’ll find because the inventory is always changing. On a recent weekday, Seconds on Third had a sewing machine, some baseball helmets, lamps, and records in the midst of all the clothing and furniture.
A thrift store to benefit the Neighborhood Services Center was first opened in 2007 as a way to not only raise funds to help more families in need in the community, but also to maintain a supply of items like clothing, furniture, and home goods for clients of the Neighborhood Services Center. But an extensive renovation of the building at 21 South Third Street that was undertaken last year completely transformed the shop, creating a beautiful, open space to display everything that’s on sale and room to store additional donations as they come in.
Davis oversees how the items are merchandised, frequently changing the front window display and rearranging the various racks of clothes or moving around the furniture as items are sold and replaced by new donations. Since the renovation, the store has the look and feel of a boutique.
As a result of the remodel, the store now has 2,200 square feet of retail space and another 1,700 square feet of room for storage. The renovation has allowed Seconds on Third to increase its offerings, improve how items are displayed, and provide a better retail experience for customers.
“I think it’s great,” Davis said.
Nicki Allen agreed. “Since the remodel, it’s no longer just a thrift store. People come in with the impression that it’s a boutique.”
A volunteer committee oversees the operations of the thrift shop for Neighborhood Services Center. Allen and Catherine Buck are the co-chairs of the committee. Davis is currently the store’s only paid employee, and she is supported by a team of volunteers who help run the store.
Davis’s introduction to the thrift shop came about seven years ago, when she was a customer—and a frequent one at that.
“I was always shopping here,” she explained. “Then I was asked to volunteer.”
After volunteering for a time, she joined the staff and eventually became the manager of the store.
Allen said that the store offers high-quality items. All the clothing, for example, is either new or gently used. The quality makes a difference for customers. Allen noted that women, in particular, want to show in a clean, well-organized place. Seconds on Third is certainly that.
Like Davis, Danielle Slifer was a customer who liked to shop in the store before she started volunteering one day each week.
“When I moved here, I found this place and brought some things for our house,” explained Slifer, a resident of Jennersville. “I love this little town, and this store has certainly contributed to that. We have good, quality merchandise.”
All the items sold in Seconds on Third are donated, and Allen emphasized that every single donation made to the store helps the community, either because it is used to assist the Neighborhood Services Center clients or sold to customers with the proceeds going back in the operating budget for the Neighborhood Services Center.
Neighborhood Services Center provides a range of services to the people who need it the most in the community. It operates a food cupboard that distributes canned goods, non-perishable items, diapers, and personal care items. The center also provides monetary assistance to pre-screened and income-eligible individuals who need assistance meeting their basic needs of housing, utilities and health care. The center also provides space for professional agencies like Family Service of Chester County, the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County, and the Crime Victims Center, connecting residents in the southern part of the county to these valuable services.
Allen said that the store is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to sustaining the operations of the Neighborhood Services Center.
“We're always looking for quality donations,” Allen said, adding that volunteers are also needed. There are a wide range of volunteer opportunities, whether it’s helping to deliver items once a week to spending an hour or two sorting donated items. They also work with community service volunteers who need to complete hours. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Davis at 610-998-1868.
“It’s important for people to help their community,” Davis said.
Seconds on Third is now open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday Donations are accepted at the thrift store five days a week. Volunteers will also make arrangements to pick up donated items for added convenience.
Anyone interested in helping out the Neighborhood Services Center can call 610-932-8557.
To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email email@example.com.