Saturday, March 12, 2011

Store Spotlight: Helping Hands

It's always exciting when a new thrift opens up in town. However this one is tempered by a little sadness. The former tenant of this building was a amazing costume store/rental joint called Costume Bazaar that had been around for 20 plus years. The downfall of Costume Bazaar had a lot of contributing factors, the original owner wanted to retire, the popularity of the Halloween Pop Up store made it hard to stay competitive, and a cherished (and hardest working) employee, Ort passed away.  

Ort always made my day whenever I went to CB to pick up some makeup or rent costumes. His knowledge was as extensive as his stock of stories. I could never stop by without at least an extra half hour in my schedule to catch up with all the local gossip and updates on his latest show. His passing a couple years ago from brain tumor left a huge hole in the local Theater community. Ort made his job look effortless, he always got everything done efficiently, he managed to do the job of three people and no one ever knew just how much he did until he wasn't there to do it any more. As for me, I found it increasingly difficult to go into that store. I could no longer walk in and get exactly what I wanted or needed, I missed my friend, so after too many weeping sessions in the parking lot I stopped doing business there. 

Flash forward to 2011 and Costume Bazaar has been sold to new owners who are taking only the rental business to a new location out on the Post Road. They haven't opened yet, but sources tell me they should be rolling by the summer. Last weekend, I got a text from a friend who had driven by and said the old building now had a thrift store. WTF?! Quick, to the interwebs....

Indeed, it is now the Helping Hands Community Thrift Store and Furniture Bank. I realized that even though my schedule this week has been crazy, I needed to stop in so I could keep my New Haven readers updated. Like most charity thrift shops, Helping Hands is not open on Sundays which is my only day off. I managed to carve out some time on Saturday morning and Helping Hands did not disappoint.
Look a $10 sofa! (And my finger...)

The whole place was very clean and nice. They did a great job with rennovations. There was once a counter and office in the center of the building, now the whole space is opened up.

The majority of the items are furniture and housewares. There is a samll clothing section and they were having a sale on winter clothes for 50% off.  Prices were good, with the furniture being very reasonably priced. There were even a couple early 20th Century dressers at $50, which is a little high but they were also in really great shape. There were also a few shelves of books and several cartons of records. No MCM furniture, but I will keep my eyes peeled. I have a feeling this place could be a great mid-century resource. I did walk out having spent $5 on a small bag of housewares including Pyrex and Vera! I will post them for this weeks Thrift Share Monday.

It makes me so happy that this building is being put to such good use. I think Ort would have been sad at the loss of this space for Costume Bazaar, but I think he would be thrilled with what the Helping Hands folks have done with the place. No more tears in the parking lot for me.


  1. Always nice when a new potential pipeline opens up! I hope you make some happy memories there. I look forward to seeing what you found.

  2. I love surprise thrift store pop-ups! And that blue couch is a steal for $10. Now, hopefully the building will have fond memories in the future for you and the other regulars.