BLACKFOOT– Melissa Johnson and Ashley Barker have been enjoying the first two months of their thrift store business Olive to Thrift. They opened in November and through the holidays they have had a nice mixture of customers from the community as well as from those visiting with their families. The nod to the "olive" comes from a family joke, where it says "I love to thrift."
Barker and Johnson were very optimistic about their first few months. "We have had to finesse our return policy and look at our hours. You don't really think about these things when starting." They have been friends for years and have loved shopping in thrift stores anywhere they travel.
Johnson stated, "When you go into a thrift store you are usually looking at the merchandise, not really how everything is organized or how they are displaying their goods." Barker chimed in, "Like at the Goodwill they have things on top of their racks and things displayed in unique ways. We looked at them and then thought 'where do we find things like this' they don't exist." They chuckled remembering their first few weeks bringing the store to life.
Johnson and Barker have made it an important part off their business to donate to the area. During the holidays they donated to the Blackfoot Be the Change and have boxes to donate to the schools when they get back in session. They also donate to other places in the community.
The change in seasons gave them a chance to rotate their offerings, "Not a lot of people buy short sleeves or tank tops during the winter," says Johnson. "Well unless they are layering," chimed in Barker. The winter weather and the earlier darkness gave them a reason to change their store hours. There aren't a lot of people who want to go shopping when it's cold and dark. They had watched customers for a few weeks to judge whether it was prudent to close earlier. With the new year they decided to change times: their new closing time is 5:00 P.M. on weekdays.
They take donations any time they are open and will take them through the front door. Like many thrift stores, Olive to Thrift cannot take mattresses, strollers, diapers, etc. Their store has an eclectic mix of items for everyone. They have brought out home goods, toys, clothing, as well as books, chairs and cases. One cannot help to peruse the goods they have in store. The will take electronics.
There has been a strong word of mouth with patrons in the store. One customer would come in one day and then bring in the rest of their family. Many people in the community either don't have a computer or are not on Facebook and had no idea the thrift store was there. The area does not have very many places to purchase clothes, besides places like Walmart and Cal-Ranch. Having another thrift store gives the area a better selection of clothes.
"It is so much fun to go on the hunt. Every once in a while, people are looking for something specific and we go on the hunt to help them. We have an eclectic selection and there are brands from all over the spectrum. There is something for everyone," says Johnson and Baker. Their hours are Monday through Friday 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. They are also open every Saturday, from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., except for the third Saturday of the month for personal service. They are located at 123 W. Bridge Street in Blackfoot.