Economy Shop opens for a very special 90th season

Barbara Patch stands tall with a smile on her face next to the work she did on the Economy Shop’s jewelry display ahead of its long-awaited summer reopening. COURIER photo/Andrew Alonzo

by Andrew Alonzo |

The story of the nonprofit Economy Shop thrift store is as old as well, nine decades.

Deep into the Great Depression, in 1933 four Claremont women banded together to create a place where residents could obtain low-cost clothing and housing supplies.

Now 90 years later, the Economy Shop will once again open its doors for the season on Wednesday, August 31. And along with celebrating all those decades of service, it will also hit another major milestone. Richard Laughton, the nonprofit’s board president, recently announced it is on course to hit $1 million in donations over those nine decades during its current nine-month season.

The Economy Shop, a Claremont institution for 90 years, opens August 31. COURIER photo/Andrew Alonzo

Its aim from the get-go was to help.

“Its intent was to provide welfare to those in need,” said Laughton. “And from there it grew into the Economy Shop.”

The shop has bounced around the Village throughout its long history but has called 325 W. First Street — with that bright blue awning — home since the late 1940s.

The cozy, iconic thrift store is just 625-square feet, and is a 100 percent volunteer owned and operated nonprofit organization. Aside from fees taken from sales tax, the Economy Shop donates all its earnings from clothing, home goods and tchotchke sales to charitable foundations and community causes.

Among the more than 100 nonprofits in Claremont, Laughton says the Economy Shop is one of the most reliable fundraisers.

“We are definitely an income stream for other nonprofit organizations,” he said.

The thrift store has donated to the Claremont After School Programs, Inland Valley Hope Partners, Shoes that Fit and Service Center for Independent Life to name a few.

“There’s still a lot of people in need of welfare assistance for various reasons,” Laughton said.

Each year the shop is reorganized and refilled with new donated stock from the community and estate sales. Apart from the layout, manager Karen Reed said residents can expect some new things this year, including a rack of heavily discounted designer brand clothing.

Way back in 1933, the women who founded the Economy Shop saw a need in their community and addressed it. That same philosophy is echoed today, and Reed said it’s been an honor to keep the torch lit.

The shop, at 325 W. First Street in the Claremont Village, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Call (909) 626-7334 for information or to learn how to donate.


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