Thrift store ends era
By: Carly O'Keefe
By: Carly O'Keefe
CARBONDALE, Ill. - In the early years, WDBX community radio relied heavily on profits from the WDBX Thrift Store to keep it afloat.
"We said support your community radio. If you don't have money to give us, give use your stuff, and people have given us their stuff, and it helped get the station up and running," said WDBX Founder Tom Egert.
Nowadays, donations and 100 volunteers keep the music going on WDBX 24/7. But the thrift store that was once so vital to the station's survival can no longer afford to stay in business.
"I wish we could keep our doors open, but it's too much to handle at the moment," said WDBX Thrift Store Manger Bernita Ward.
According to Egert, community support for the store has dwindled; and with a sluggish economy and rising overhead costs, the thrift store isn't making enough to justify keeping it open.
"WDBX is at a point now where it's self-sustaining and they don't need the thrift store so much any more. So we're going to back off on the store and let the radio go on its own," Egert said.
Bargain hunters like Carolyn Wetzle of Harrisburg are sad to see it go.
"It's fun," said Wetzle. "You never know what you're going to find. You find treasures around every corner."
Some shoppers say in addition to the deals, they're going to miss the helpful smile behind the counter, that of manager Bernita Ward.
"It's kind of like therapy," said shopper Elanna Whitaker. "Sometimes it makes your day. You come in here and she'll have a conversation with you. She's the heart of this place."
Ward said she'll miss being behind the counter and all the folks she's able to help.
"I always say even in your darkest hour, Jesus never turned his back on nobody. And then we go find what they need," said Ward.
With store closing, there is a lot of stuff to get rid of.
"Everything we normally sell they can come in and have it for free. Thank you very much, and now we'll be on our way," said Egert.