St. Vinny’s in Sun Prairie is set for July 4th with enough U.S. flags and red, white, and blue knick-knacks to celebrate the holiday in style.

The resale shop had a boost from the COVID-19 Safer at Home order when people cleared out their basements and decided to donate. St. Vinny’s Sun Prairie manager Bennett Schenck said it’s been a windfall for the non-profit organization.

“We’ve just seen the sheer volume of donations increase over the last couple of months and the quality is higher too,” Schenck said. “More people are choosing to donate instead of having a garage sale.

That means that St. Vinny’s is bursting with furniture, clothing, household goods, book, bikes, and lots of other stuff.

That’s a good thing because the money made at the St. Vincent de Paul’s seven Dane County stores helps run programs that helps local residents. There’s housing for people transitioning out of homelessness, a pharmacy that supplies free medicine, a food pantry, and a place to get free clothing, furniture, and other supplies.

Demand for those services has all increased since the pandemic’s blow to the economy.

The number of families that the St. Vinny’s food pantry has served has more than doubled during the last couple of months, said Max Nguyen, St. Vincent de Paul’s communications manager.

Buying goods at St. Vinny’s resale shops—Sun Prairie, Madison, Stoughton, Waunakee and Verona—help keep those services running.

“Over $2 million in revenue from these stores goes back to funding these stores,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen estimates that St. Vinny’s lost more than $1.5 million in revenue with the stores being closed during the Safer at Home orders during one of the busiest times of the year.

St. Vinny’s stores opened May 26 with new procedures to stop the coronavirus spread.

Customers are encouraged to practice social distancing, wear a mask and there are special hours for people at high risk of catching the virus.

St. Vinny’s employees are doing their part by wearing masks and sanitizing the stores more often. Donated items are put in quarantine and disinfected before going out on the sales floors also.

Schenck hopes the new safety measures will bring back customers.

“We don’t see some of our regulars, and we miss them,” He said. “We know there are still people wary of going out in public but we are doing everything we can at St. Vinny’s to keep customers safe.”

St. Vinny’s Sun Prairie shop is one of the biggest stores in Dane County and with a growing community, there is a lot of opportunities to showcase great finds. With the friendly competition among other St. Vinny’s stores, Schenck has high goals for the Sun Prairie resale shop.

“I can use that momentum in sales and help people right here in our community,” Schenck said.

Some recent shopping gems are high-quality patio sets donated by big retailers to the Sun Prairie store. Schenck said with summer just starting, now is the time to come in and check out the selection.

“I think we will see an uptick in sales, just at other retailers that deal with discounted goods will see,” Schenck said. “And maybe people who didn’t consider shopping at a resale shop will come in and give us a try.”

St. Vinny’s displays highlight some of the most fashionable finds, complete with accessories. Putting a little extra attention to the store’s vibes is what Schenck and his staff strive for.

“When we put products out on the floor, we are not thinking resale shop,” he said. “We are going for a T.J. Maxx look. We work hard on our displays and highlight the high quality of our clothing.”

At St. Vinny’s, the hunt is also part of the fun, so expect something new each time, Schenck said.

“You may come looking for a T-shirt and you found a KitchenAid stand mixer at a great price instead,” Schenck said of the adventure of shopping St. Vinny’s.

St. Vinny’s special shopping events are slowly ramping up again. Yule believe Sun Prairie is already planning for the Christmas holidays with tons of boxes of ornaments, decorations, and artificial trees that were donated during the pandemic clean-up spree.

Schenck appreciates the donations that keep coming into the Sun Prairie St. Vinny’s store.

“We are so grateful to be part of this community and see the generosity of the people here,” Schenck said. “We look forward to being here for many, many more years to come and doing good in the Sun Prairie area.”

St. Vincent de Paul resale shop, 1110 W. Main St., Sun Prairie; for more information, call 608-278-2920 or visit svdpmadison.org/shop/sun-prairie/ or on Facebook.

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