By Betty Lowery
As the sun rose on October 11, Lil’s Thrift Shop volunteers were already busy finalizing details for the Grand Reopening & Community Open House. The day had finally arrived, and the excitement was palpable.
The shop was sparkling, ready for its big reveal. Space in the parking lot was marked to welcome the Lured Market & Grill’s food truck, On the Fly, joining in the festivities. Tables that would soon be heavy with desserts lovingly prepared by Lil’s volunteers to welcome and thank guests with a sweet treat were festively adorned. A prominent corner was set aside for the local talent volunteering to entertain the guests. All systems go!
At precisely 10 a.m., the ribbon was cut by project leaders Michelle Kreitman and Karin Solomonson, flanked by a cadre of fellow volunteers, and the doors were flung open as the crowd who came for the reveal “oohed” and “aahed” seeing the transformation of this local landmark and beloved nonprofit. Founded in 2013 by Lil Rossow, this small but mighty shop has raised thousands of dollars through the sale of donated gently used household items to fund animal welfare and abuse prevention programs throughout Rutherford County. The volunteers worked hard to make Lil proud, to build on the amazing legacy of a remarkable visionary woman. All who knew Lil will attest she was a force of nature, the personification of the famous Margaret Mead quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Friends, neighbors, donors, sponsors and two of the partner organizations Lil’s supports, PAWS of Rutherford County and Heart of the Foothills Animal Rescue- Rutherford County, joined the festivities. And all who came did more than celebrate — they shopped, and they donated generously throughout the day, making the grand reopening not only fun, but the most successful single day in the history of Lil’s Thrift Shop!
As folks finished their shopping, they stayed to enjoy the fellowship of the day, savoring lunch or dinner from the food truck, lost in the sweet memories conjured by the music provided by John Hampton — for most, the wonderful soundtrack of their youth. It was impossible to hear him strum and sing beloved songs and not sing along!
Throughout the day, the presence of Lil’s volunteer and board member, the late Tracy Lanham also was felt. Tracy first envisioned this kind of transformation for this little shop. As her name was spoken throughout the day, all agreed she, too, would be very proud.
But the beaming faces of three of the original founders and emeritus board members Nancy Baird, Jean Hoffman and Linda Turner bestowed the most coveted seal of approval for the happy volunteers.
And perhaps that is the secret to Lil’s Thrift Shop. The number of women who each leave their mark, who are part of the Lil’s DNA. Women who have given and continue to give so much to further its important mission for the last 10 years remind and inspire the greater community to want to support and take part. They remind all that we stand on the shoulders of giants. They make us believe that together, we can accomplish great things. That each generation can revere the past, build on that foundation to enhance the present, and then with confidence pass the torch to the next generation. That there is indeed a continuous, unbreakable thread that binds past, present and future.
As the sun set on a glorious day, the detritus of the event was cleaned up, the shop readied for the next day and for normal operating days/times to ensue. A new normal, as the feeling of success lingers. It floats in the air, and it whispers “job well done”. Visit the shop, and you will feel it.
Lil’s Thrift Shop is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) dedicated to animal welfare and abuse prevention programs in Rutherford County, fully staffed by volunteers. You can support their efforts by donating new and gently used household items, through financial contributions, by shopping at the store, or signing up to become a Lil’s volunteer! You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram, or learn more about their efforts, their donors, their corporate sponsors and more on their website.