Thrift store supports local charities and community

LATISHA JENSEN, Evergreen reporter

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Palouse Treasures has something for everyone, whether you’re a regular budget-savvy treasure-seeker, or a broke college student looking for a cheap way to stand out from the basics at the next costume party.

The non-profit organization Boost Collaborative opened Palouse Treasures in 2003 as a way to support local youth and adults with disabilities, by providing them consistent support and the training they need to enter the competitive job market.

This business also helps the non-profit to rely on its own funding and much less on state funding. The store benefits the community and the community gives back through donations and by shopping there, said Eric Hoyle, executive director of Boost Collaborative.

Hoyle described the environment of Palouse Treasures as friendly and dynamic.

“We begin a relationship with youth beginning at 18 years of age and maybe they’re in special education programs or maybe they’ve graduated,” Hoyle said. “We’re essentially their first job experience ever.”

Donna Chatman, Palouse Treasures clerk and cashier, has worked for nine years at the thrift store.

“I get to work with the clients, the disabled people, in the morning and help them learn their tasks,” Chatman said. “So that’s pretty fun.”

Chatman has spent time looking around at other thrift stores, and a notable difference she has observed is that Palouse Treasures is one of the cheapest thrift stores in Pullman, especially because of their 25-cent rack Tuesday and 10-cent rack Wednesday.

“The vintage and antique things we get,” Chatman said, “we don’t price them at antique store prices, we price them at thrift store prices.”

One of the strangest antiques to make its way through the store was an old black stroller, Chatman said, similar to strollers often seen in horror and paranormal films such as “Annabelle.”

“We got an antique stroller, the really scary ones, that kind of creeped me out but it was neat at the same time,” Chatman said. “It was in fantastic shape and it was definitely antique.”

Hoyle has also come across his fair share of not-so-typical thrift store donations that probably came from the deep, forgotten corners of someone’s basement – including ninja swords.

“We have seen some amazing antiques, from early telephones to office equipment you can’t even identify,” Hoyle said. “Antique stuff from way, way back to the beginnings of communication.”

This thrift store helps provide steady funding to fulfill the mission of Boost Collaborative, to “provide education, training, and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities residing in Whitman and Latah Counties,” according to the Boost website. People who donate to Palouse Treasures contribute to this local mission, Hoyle said.

Hoyle acknowledged other organizations that also serve a valuable purpose, although he said those organizations’ donations may be shipped off to other areas to serve people outside of Pullman.

“Boost Collaborative is all about serving local residents,” Hoyle said.