By Zachary Senter
In the town of Lake Lure, there is a small nonprofit called Lil’s Thrift Shop. Like a normal Thrift Shop, all of Lil’s wares are goods donated by locals. In addition to furniture, housewares and countless home goods, Lil’s also occasionally carries a few smaller products. Currently they have quite the assortment of such items, including lip balm and hand sanitizer. However, what really sets Lil’s apart is that all the money that they make is donated to various non-profit organizations who support animal care. We got in touch with Betty Lowery, a member of the Board of Lil’s Thrift Shop, and head of Lil’s social media and community outreach, in order to learn more about the thrift shop.
The shop was first opened By Lil Rossow in 2013. Lil was an animal lover who was particularly fond of cats, like her pets Ringo and Star. The shop was first started when Lil received some household items from a former neighbor, and arranged for them to be stored at what serves as the shop’s physical location today. Lil ran the shop by herself for a few years, giving profits to the Rutherford County Humane Society (RCHS). Eventually people learned of Lil’s efforts and wanted to help. Unfortunately, Lil’s health started to decline, leading her to leave Lake Lure to be closer to her family in Ohio. In 2018, during Lil’s absence, the shop was remodeled thanks to a fundraising event and donation from the landlord. The shop was renamed Lil’s Thrift Shop following the remodel. Unfortunately, Lil would never get the chance to see the remodeled shop as she passed away in 2019. However, Lil’s legacy lived on. In 2021 volunteers made Lil’s Thrift Shop into a 501c3 charitable organization, allowing it to apply for grants with all the financial rigor and transparency that entails. Lil’s Thrift Shop continues to support multiple animal welfare organizations in Rutherford County.
The entirety of Lil’s staff, including the board, is made of volunteers. Betty herself has been volunteering at the shop for about 2 years. According to Betty, people usually start volunteering with Lil’s because of their mission to support animal welfare. Volunteering with Lil’s also gives one the opportunity to interact with the customers and donors, as well as form new relationships. On top of that, some of the volunteers just like working at a thrift shop.
Lil’s is open on Wednesdays to Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. Volunteers work 3 hour shifts once a week. The shop continues to focus on recruiting new volunteers with the ultimate goal of having two volunteers per shift. Lil’s gets new inventory each day, so volunteers get to interact with both customers and donors daily. This also means that one never knows what they might find. Lil’s also has a price structure that continually marks down prices on items (see Lil’s Facebook page for more details).
Lil’s is located at 305 Buffalo Creek Road. One can support Lil’s Thrift Shop by donating goods and volunteering with the organization. One can contact Lil’s by calling 828-202-6424 or emailing Lilsthriftshop@gmail.com. To learn more, visit Lil’s website: lilsthriftshop.com or visit the organization’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/lilsthrift/.