HOLDEN, Mass. — Though the Corner Shop at First Congregational Church has been around for more than 50 years, it remains one of Holden's hidden gems. After a break for the summer, the nonprofit consignment store has opened its doors for a new season of offering quality used clothing at thrift store prices.
"The biggest thing for me is seeing everybody again," manager Lori Tokarowski said. "As much as this is a place for people to get reasonably priced clothing, it's also a very caring wonderful atmosphere for the people that work here."
The Corner Shop was created in 1960 by the Women's Fellowship at First Congregational Church in Holden. It specializes in the resale of used clothing, with 25 percent of the money supporting the church and the rest helping local charities.
Tokarowski took over as manager in May 2011 and was quickly embraced by the close-knit group of dedicated volunteers.
"They welcomed me with open arms," she said. "I tell people, what other job can you come to where you feel like you're getting a hug everyday. It's like that here."
More than 80 local volunteers throughout the year help operate the shop by sorting and pricing clothing, managing the sales desk and serving on the Corner Shop committee.
"They all just generously give of their time," said Tokarowski. "This is all out of the goodness of their heart."
In fact, while customers can find a treasure at bargain prices, the volunteers working in the shop can enjoy a rich reward.
"You would think that a clothing store would be serving the customers, but for the people that volunteer here it's also a real wonderful thing," said Tokarowski. "We have a Thanks-a-bunch Luncheon every April for all of our volunteers, and we have such a great time."
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, and the third Saturday of each month from 9 to 11:30 a.m.