Published 10:07am Thursday, August 9, 2012 Updated 10:07am Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rothsay abounds with community outreach. PARTNERS (“People Around Rothsay That Need Extra Routine Services”) is a Living At Home / Block Nurse Program. It is a Non-Profit Corporation with the goal “to assist our 60+ neighbors to remain in their homes.” This is accomplished through the use of volunteers to provide noon meal delivery, transportation to appoints, in home safety visits and friendly neighbor visits, walking and exercise programs, as well as outings for homebound, to name some of the services. Some nursing services such as a blood pressure clinic, foot clinic, nursing assessments and an annual fall flu clinic are also provided. The PARTNERS office has a public computer and a loan closet free of charge to anyone in the community in need of equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, shower chairs, crutches, etc. PARTNERS has only two paid employees: Marlys Winkels – Program Director, and Stacey Lang – Volunteer Director. Obviously Rothsay has many kind and caring volunteers in the community.

Now more volunteers are needed to help with the new venture begun by PARTNERS last spring. The Our Saviors Lutheran church building, now owned by the Rothsay Economic Development Association, was left unused when its congregation and the Hamar Lutheran congregation combined to become The New Life Lutheran Perish and built a new place of worship. Wheels began to turn in the heads of members of the PARTNERS board. The REDA was willing to allow the empty church building to be used as a place to open a new thrift store in the community. It was learned that a store in Bemidji was closing, which provided a place to purchase shelving and racks, etc. very economically. Tena Bengston, a member of the PARTNERS board, began visiting other thrift stores asking questions and looking for advice. The Pelican Rapids Pass It On shop, written about in last falls’ In Good Company issue, was one of the places she received ideas. Tena took on the job of manager, organizing and setting up the shop, which opened on April 1st of this year. Then, unexpectedly, Tena’s husband received a job offer in Omaha, Nebraska, which was too good to pass up. With the new venture barely underway, Tessa Vogel stepped up to the plate as the new manager of Rothsay’s Attic Thrift Store, finding that this job works quite well with the family schedule, which includes home schooling she and her husband’s three children.

When speaking with Tessa about her new job, she bubbled with enthusiasm and excitement. The day I visited, she was having a Fabulous Friday Manager’s Special. Clothing and other items that had been in the shop since it opened were all 50% off. One goal is to maintain a rapid turnover of merchandise. Obviously it’s important for shoppers to find many new items each time they come, to keep them coming back. She plans to have tag sales quite often. A shopper will purchase a bag for $3.00 and then be able to fill it up. She has a plan for using different colored price tags each week for the new items being put out. This will help keep a check on how long items have been for sale. This will help her plan sales tactics such as having 25% off every other alternating blue tag item purchased. Blue jeans quilts are a popular item to make; therefore, she is placing five pair of jeans in a bag for $1.00 to make it easy for quilters to pick up supplies. Besides planning various sales, she has much to keep her busy. There are always clothing items to inspect and sort for marking sizes and prices. This is one of the jobs she will train volunteers to do. A pricing guideline has been established to help determine what items should be marked. One objective of this guideline is to provide very affordable merchandise, while seeing that the thrift shop makes a profit. She tries to use the talents of volunteers in the most meaningful ways possible. One young man wanted to volunteer, but wasn’t interested in running the cash register or pricing, etc. Tessa learned he has carpentry ability, and is now having him apply this talent to tasks and projects around the shop. One gal is interested in crafts and helps her price this kind of item. Another helps price knicknacks. Tessa describes shopping here as being somewhat similar to attending a rummage sale, but better. Here you will have a roof over your head, a place to try on clothing, a clean, comfortable environment and a very well lighted area because the old church windows let in so much light as well as being beautiful to look out through. She commends the people of the community for their generous donations of high quality clothing and items. She was delighted to receive a large box of hangers with two clips for skirts and slacks from the Fergus Falls Herberger’s store. Evidently they are rather hard to come by.

A community contest was held to name the store. Many appropriate names were entered such as Lena’s Second Hand Store and The Prairie Chicken’s Nest. Nine year old Anna Denais’ entry of Rothsay’s Attic Thrift Store was chosen, probably because searching an attic has the connotation of finding treasures. Hopefully each shopper will find a treasure or two to purchase. This will result in “People Around Rothsay That Need Extra Routine Services” receiving more of these services.

If you wish to shop, bring donations, or arrange to volunteer time, you need to know that the hours of Rothsay’s Attic Thrift Store are: Tues-Thurs: 2-6pm; Fri: 11-6pm; Sat: 10-2pm. The address is 105 1st St. SW, PO Box 234, Rothsay, MN 56579. The telephone number is 218-867-2600. Email is


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