NEW TIMES: What has been the weirdest thing that people have donated or come in asking for?
GALLARDO: Once, we came in to open the store and there was this big bag of turkey bones waiting among the donations. It was huge! It’s one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen.
NEW TIMES: To what do you attribute the increase in sales for thrift stores?
GALLARDO: I’d have to say that it’s the general state of the economy, and people are looking to save money wherever they can. We have some folks who are in regularly, but we have seen more lately because of the economic downturn.
NEW TIMES: How do thrift store volunteers feel about college students coming in for things other than costume clothes?
GALLARDO: We’ve been excited because people didn’t use to buy so much in terms of back-to-school clothes We’ve had a noticeable increase in that clientele, and it’s been great for us and great for business.
NEW TIMES: What would you say is your most popular seller?
GALLARDO: I’d say furniture, as we sell lots of different kinds of furnishings, especially to students who are moving into new housing. We sell a good amount of clothing everyday as well, but it helps to sell a couch here and there to go along with the $2 tee shirts.
NEW TIMES: What do you feel is the benefit of the Old Mission Thrift Store, both to the community and to the school?
GALLARDO: We have a vital impact on the San Luis Obispo community with regard to people of limited means being able to afford basic necessities. We help not only those in need in our community, but also send school supplies to our sister school in La Paz, Guatemala and other organizations that lend a hand to the less fortunate.