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BLACKFOOTâ€”The malls and superstores aren't the only ones to offer great holiday bargains. One of Blackfoot's "best kept secrets" is the Bingham Crisis Center Thrift Store (34 Louella Street) in Blackfoot. It is featuring a week of discounts, a "Christmas Room" filled with holiday decor and a visit from Father Christmas himself.
The thrift store is a subsidiary of the Bingham Crisis Center operated solely by volunteers with proceeds from the store going to help the crisis center (a shelter for women and children) and others in need throughout the community.
Cher England, who manages the store with the help of her daughters, Genevieve and Elizabeth, said she wanted to "do some fun stuff for Christmas this year."
"The first week of December everything in the store will be half off of our already low, thrift store prices," she declared. "The only exceptions will be items from our Christmas room; those items will not be half off."
England said that "Father Christmas" will be at the store on Dec.12 and 13 from 2-5 p.m. to hear the Christmas wishes of children.
England, who home-schools her daughters, said that working in the thrift store has been a great experience for them, saying, "It's given my girls experience working in retail and it has helped teach them the importance of giving and volunteering.
"We take a lot of pride in the store and we are particular about the merchandise that we put out," she said. "We only take things that are clean and in good shape No stains or tears and things need to work the way they are intended to work."
"I like to call it our classy thrift boutique, " she added.
Dixie Chapman, executive director of the Bingham Crisis Center, said she is grateful for the thrift store as it helps the center with "direct services" while most of the other funding is from designated grants.
"Because of this thrift store, we are able to help people with individual needs," Chapman said. "The store helps us provide children and adults with the sizes of clothing that they need."
The Bingham Thrift store accepts and encourages donations all year long. England said the store accepts almost everything that is clean and in workable condition: clothes, shoes, toys, kitchen appliances, bedding, "knick knacks," electronics and computer equipment.
Items that cannot be accepted are mattresses, pillows, cribs, car seats or toys that have been recalled.
England said the store is also a dropoff location for new or gently used coats and blankets that will be distributed to those in need throughout the community.
Donations are accepted during the store's normal business hours: Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p .m.
"Please don't leave items outside of the store when we're not open," England stressed. "The items may get stolen or damaged by the weather."
Anyone who would like to make a donation outside of regular business hours can drop them off at the Bingham Crisis Center (288 N. Shilling) or call 785-1047 to make special arrangements.