Through two generous grants and a donation from an anonymous donor, the Twin Pines Community Thrift Shop has reopened after an extensive renovation and reorganization.
The shop, located in the Community Chest building at 382 Main Street with its own entrance on Prospect Avenue, was established by Port Washington resident Edna Turner in 1972. The original mission of Twin Pines was to provide local residents with a source of affordable grocery products and organic foods, to function as a distribution point for usable second-hand clothing and household items and to serve as a training site for those needing work experience. However, the evolving pricing structure of grocery products and wider availability of organic foods motivated Twin Pines to shift its focus onto its thrift store, which is now the mainstay of its operations while a small community cupboard of non-perishable food items is still maintained.
A thriving and self-sustaining nonprofit organization with an active 14-member board and numerous volunteers, Twin Pines is an integral part of the Port Washington community. It maintains a close working relationship with Spectrum Designs, a Port Washington organization that assists children and adults with autism, by offering skill development opportunities and meaningful work experience to the Spectrum Designs community, whose members can often be found “working the floor” or helping out with special projects at Twin Pines.
With the renovations complete, shoppers can now peruse a wide and thoughtfully arranged variety of useful items.
“The shop is a large benefit to the community,” said store manager Diane Kasey-Burton. “People come in looking for all types of items. We have local moms looking for kids’ clothes and workout gear for themselves, but we also had a high school senior looking for a tuxedo to wear to the prom and a flag pin for a man who had just become a U.S. citizen. We are usually able to help people find what they need.”
Robin Lillyreed, long-time Port Washington resident and retired reading specialist with the New York City public schools says that she both donates to and buys from the shop, and for many years used the Twin Pines book section as “a useful and dependable resource for my classroom.”
Currently under development is a program for high school students interested in learning the ins and outs of what it takes to run a small business. With Twin Pines serving as a “working lab,” the students will be introduced to basic marketing principles and small business practices. The program, a beneficiary of a grant from the Community Chest, as well as the vision and talent of Port Washington resident Judith Heller, is scheduled to begin in 2019. Heller, a Twin Pines board member and AVP for physician recruitment at Northwell Health, says that it works to increase awareness of its presence in the local area and beyond.
“Twin Pines can be a vehicle for multiple learning opportunities for the community,” Heller said.
Twin Pines hopes to continue to foster its strong connection to the community by holding regular community events such as its recent “Upcycling Wine Glass” event, which featured a social evening of crafting and conversation. Children’s reading groups and knitting circles are also in the works.
The Twin Pines Community Thrift Shop welcomes gently used clothing and housewares, books and toys. These items are sold to the general public, offered to families in need or donated to other Port Washington organizations that focus on the needs of families, thus embracing a popular 21st century mantra, “reduce, recycle, repurpose.”
For Port Washington residents and beyond who are looking for new homes for serviceable items they no longer need or use, donation hours are 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday or by appointment. For more information, call 516-883-9777. For more details about events, visit “Port Washington Twin Pines Charitable Thrift Shop” on Facebook.