As you walk in the door of Hidden Treasures, one may think they are going into a trendy little boutique. The walls and aisles are an elegant display of neatly organized treasures waiting to be snapped up by thrifty new owners.
Like most of us, the quaint second-hand store has felt the effects of the ongoing pandemic, but for Hidden Treasures, it’s been in an unexpectedly positive way. Donations have soared in the last year and continued to do so with the help of the Reston community and surrounding areas. “Donations continued even though we were closed”, says Pat Forbes who is part of the small group of volunteers at the shop. We took turns spending time at the store to sort stuff, and we were well-stocked when we did open back up for business.”
Sheila Perreault, who unpacks and sorts the non-clothing area of donations, says the support they have received has been tremendous. “Sometimes the entire back deck is covered in donations when we arrive in the morning,” she laughs. “People have been very supportive.”
It has been five years since Hidden Treasures opened its doors to the public, and while they quietly celebrate the milestone, customers continue to flock to the store. No single area tends to see more sales over another and Forbes says anything can find a new home. “This winter at-home entertainment items were in demand - puzzles, games, and books.”
New items are added to the store as space allows. The store celebrates special events, such as “I Love to Read Month” in February when it implements a sale on books. Seasonal items are stocked and kept on hand, so they are ready to be added to the floor as seasons change. A Blue Bag Day is held several times a year where you can purchase a recycling bag and fill it with clothes and shoes for $10.
Bags of rags are also available for purchase. “People may remember the mothers and grandmothers from the ACW and Guild who worked at the thrift sales in the parish hall,” says Forbes. “Dedicated workers were found in the kitchen cutting up unusable clothing for the bags of rags sold for dusting and cleaning…we still do that today.”
WHY A STORE
Almost by necessity, the store began. For 30 years parishioners at St. John’s Anglican Church held a semi-annual thrift sale. “The process of setting up, having the sale, taking down, and donating the leftover stuff became labour intensive,” says Forbes. “We were offered the opportunity to rent permanent store space on 4th Street and we opened Hidden Treasures on April 21, 2016.”
Nancy Schiltroth, the smiling face greeting you as you enter the store made mention of the opportunity during their grand opening, telling the Reston Recorder’s Dolores Caldwell, “As a group, we had discussed many times that if we had the space, the twice-annual thrift sale was really something that could be operated year-round.”
The small group of volunteers, which consist of Dene Skelton, Roland Perreault, Pat Forbes, Sheila Perreault, and Nancy Schiltroth, say they enjoy seeing the different items that get donated to the store. With a chuckle, Sheila remarks, “Sometimes we have to ask each other what something is.” Fate has played its part in the store as well - on the hottest day of 2020 volunteers unpacked an air conditioner from that day's donations.
They also appreciate the time they get to spend with customers. “It allows us to put faces to our little church”, says Forbes.
Father Matt Koovisk who helps occasionally jokes that he’s only there to be put to work – “I take boxes downstairs.”
Proceeds go to the general operation of St. John’s allowing for much-needed upgrades such as a wheelchair-accessible ramp to the front of the church and parish hall, as well as improvements to the church furnace and baseboard heaters in the hall. “We also make donations to groups, causes, and folks in need,” notes Forbes.
Thankfully the process for donating hasn’t changed during these pandemic days, however Hidden Treasures does ask that donated items be in good, clean repair and have all the parts. While the store does not handle large furniture, they can accommodate donations of smaller items like table and chairs. A donation bin is available at the back of the store on the deck for after-hours drop-offs.