• 79°

Shop preserving crafting celebrates 48 years

By Dawn Burleigh

September 1973, a group of seniors joined together to form a non-profit preserve crafting and help supplement their income. The group became Thrift and Gift Shop, commonly referred to as the shop with “The Quilters.”

This year, while still preserving the crafts of yesteryear, the shop celebrates 48 years of successfully keeping the doors open.

While the shop has undergone some changes, the constant are the unique items found while exploring the shelves.

From a crystal salt bowls set with matching spoons to a Hummel figurine, there is something for everyone. Yarn, fabric and other crafting supplies are also available from the hard-to-find button to just the right ribbon to complete a project.

Hummel figurines have been adored worldwide since their introduction in 1935. Based on the artwork of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, their unique style and whimsical designs have captured the hearts of millions of devoted collectors. Early figurines in good condition can fetch top dollar from ardent Hummel collectors, according to theprudentcollector.com

As the nonprofit was to preserve crafts that have long been a part of American households such as quilting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, woodworking, painting and jewelry making, the tradition continues today.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the quilters can be found at one of two quilting frames as they hand quilt different quilts. With great expertise, they quickly finish a quilt and move to the next in a short time. While they usually have two a year they raffle off as a fundraiser for the shop, the ladies also quilt for customers as well. For more information on getting on the list to be quilted, contact the shop at (409) 886-7649 or visit them at 350 N 37th Street in Orange.

As so many other businesses, the shop has felt the impact of the hurricanes, a pandemic and the winter storm.

The freezing temperatures of the winter storm also caused a pipe to burst at the store.

“The water pipe, that we did not even know was there, broke and ran for two days,” Nelda Allbritton said. “We had the best volunteers come help us.”

All the carpeting had to be cleared from the room before repairs could begin. Volunteers, including a 4-wheeler club, helped the ladies get the work done.

“The young men came to help. A couple of them brought their wife with them,” Allbritton aid. “We had fantastic volunteers.”

The organization also lost former President Wynona Nance in May 2021.

“She was president for several years,” Allbritton said. “She was part of the founders.”

Even after moving away from the area, Nance would continue to bring floral arrangements to the shop to sell.

Pat and Glenn Putnam, Velma Geter, Iris Allen and Inez Hubbard were among the early organizers of the shop. At one time, they also cooked and served a noon meal, mostly for businessmen, when the establishment was located on 5th Street.

“People still come in and talk about those meals,” Allbritton said. “We don’t cook meals anymore.”

Many felt the closing of the location was the end for the establishment. Pat Putnam was determined to keep the doors open.

Putnam found space in the old Salk School building after the property was purchased by PLAN, another organization she supported. The wing, which houses the store, was remolded with the help of volunteers and a grand opening was held in September of 2003.

Kay Nuss, office manager, has volunteered at the shop since the second week the shop moved to the current location.

Thrift and Gift Shop is open 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tues. – Fri. as well as the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

First Saturday Sale on September 4, the shop will have specials on all men and women’s winter jackets are $1 each and curtains will be on sale for .50 cents.