Thrift stores: ‘This is my sixth time I’ll be retiring’


RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

Brian MacArthur has worked in thrift stores for about 15 years and finds them interesting and fun.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

Name: Brian MacArthur
Occupation: Store manager at Palouse Treasures Thrift Store

Tell me about what it’s like working here.
“It’s fun. I’ve been working in thrift stores for about 15 years. You get all the neat merchandise that comes in. It’s just fun to sell back all the fun things we get in.”

Do you get a lot of college students or families coming in to shop?
“It’s a mix. We get a lot of people from the community and a lot of people from outside the community to come here and shop. In fact, we have daily people that come in and shop daily trying to get a good bargain. And then we have the people that sell on eBay and other places, and they try to come in and find things. We get a lot of college students. That’s a good portion of the sales.”

What’s your favorite thing about working here?
“I like going through the merchandise. And I like dealing with the public. My previous experience was with the Salvation Army in Lewiston, and I know a lot of customers from there, and show up here [too]. It’s the same way in Moscow—I used to be the manager of the Moscow Salvation Army. In fact, I started that store. So I get a lot of customers from there.”

It seems like you’re very passionate about thrift stores.
“Yes, I love doing this. I’ve been kind of a troubleshooting manager all of my life, so any store that needs a startup or needs sales, I’m the person to do it.”

You said you’ve been working in thrift stores for 15 years?
“Yeah, about 15 years. I think I’m probably on my last year—I think I want to retire again. I’ve tried to retire since I was 63, and every time I do someone keeps calling me back. This is my sixth time I’ll be retiring.”

What are your plans for once you retire?
“I do craft work and make unusual little thingies. I do photography. I’ve been doing that for a long time. Photography, I would say 30 years, but craft work, I’ve been doing for about 20 years.”

What do you think is interesting or important about the thrift store?
“All the money that we make here stays right in Pullman. It doesn’t go out of the city like a lot of companies do, it just stays right here. There has been a lot of people that we have trained and helped with disabilities, and also working out in the community right now.”

Reporting by Rachel Sun