St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store celebrates 25 years in its Fair Street location … helping community members get on their feet

By Hilary Dartt • Photo by Trisha Shaffer

The mission of St. Vincent de Paul is: “A network of friends inspired by gospel values growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need.”

That’s why, according to Carrie Ragsdale, assistant manager of the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store on Fair Street, “There’s no one that we won’t help.”

Brittany O’Carroll, store manager, explained that all the items sold in the store generate funding for the programs St. Vincent de Paul offers (these include assistance with eyeglasses, auto repair, utilities, rent, food, sleeping bags, tents, motels and hotels, and more). And, St. Vincent de Paul offers clients vouchers for the store so they can get what they need (clothing, furniture, linens, and small appliances, for example).

For both Brittany and Carrie, being part of the organization’s mission has been fulfilling.

“We’ve gotten to see it in action,” Brittany said. “That’s the best part of working here: getting to help clients who are really trying to get on their feet. It could be something as simple as them needing a warmer jacket or a dry pair of socks. It can change their whole day. It’s fun for us to be part of this and see what St. Vincent de Paul is doing for our community.”

Carrie said, “We’ve heard stories from veterans, people who are leaving a domestic violence situation, someone who was just laid off and couldn’t get a job. There’s a big array of people who are in need. People know we’re not going to turn them away.”

“For Carrie and I both—we talk about it,” Brittany said. “We wouldn’t have expected being managers of a thrift store to be so rewarding. But we both love our jobs. We both worked hard to get to a place where we could work in a job we really love and enjoy.”

Another wonderful thing about working at the store: the volunteers.

Carrie said about 40 volunteers staff the store, and handle responsibilities from running the cash register to repairing electronics. “They really do whatever we need,” she said.

And, Brittany said, “That’s how we’re able to afford to run the store. The expenses are really high to run any business in town. We really only pay five employees—the rest are people in service. We wouldn’t be able to provide so much to the community if we had to pay those people. We couldn’t do it without them.”

As mothers, Carrie and Brittany said they love sharing their work with their kids. Carrie’s kids tell her this is the best job she’s ever had because she gets to help people. And Brittany said the job has given her an opportunity to talk with her son about those less fortunate—and about the resources available for them to get the help they need.

The women invited anyone who hasn’t been into the store lately to come in and see the work they’ve done. They double- and triple-check the merchandise so shoppers can rest assured that when they come in, they’re going to find something in good condition … and “know that whatever you’re spending,” Brittany said, “is going back into our community.”

Right now, the thrift store is seeking donations of men’s clothing, especially cold-weather items like jackets, coats, and jeans.

The St. Vincent de Paul Thrift store is at 935 Fair St. in Prescott. For more information call 928.771.9696 or visit The St. Vincent de Paul office is at 120 N. Summit Ave. in Prescott.