Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Little Things that Make a Difference: Pick 'n' Pay

Like so many places in Alaska, the most popular ones are often the most nondescript, and someone not in the know wouldn't even think of going shopping in a place like this.

The local Pick 'n' Pay, a resale shop, is a vital fundraising effort for St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Homer. It is only open from 10-3 on Saturdays, unlike the local Salvation Army that is open 6 days a week. Thus, the diehard deal-finders in Homer show up right at 10 am every Saturday and pack this little building full. All adult clothes is $1, all kids clothes 50 cents, toys are free. Turnover is huge, so each week there could be a completely different selection of items. A corp of dedicated volunteers work many hours each week sorting through and displaying the items. Many times when I drop things off to donate, the donation bin is packed, attesting to the popularity of Pick 'n' Pay as a place to pass on gently used items.

We visit the store only when we're in town and killing time between activities or when we're looking for something that we really need that we would have to drive all the way to Soldotna to buy. We have managed to pick up some incredible deals. Last year both the kids needed hiking boots for our backpacking trip, and when we went in there there just happened to be a pair of nearly new hiking boots that fit my daughter perfectly. The next week we went again and there was a pair that fit Denver. Our son has worn boots for the past 6 months so hasn't needed shoes. We decided to do the 5K Migration Run on the Spit last weekend, but discovered he didn't have any shoes for running in. We decided to get to Pick 'n' Pay right at 10 to nab any good shoes, and amazingly there was a very nice pair of running/hiking shoes that fit and (more importantly!) Denver approved of.

When times are tight, places like this can be vital for families with little extra cash, or for people like us it saves us a trip up the road. When I walk out of there with something we really need, it makes me appreciate little things about Homer that help us get by, like Pick 'n' Pay!

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