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Islanders invited to clean out local thrift shop during Bag Day

By Staff | Aug 14, 2013

Sanibel resident Mimie DiRico browsed the clothing racks at Noah's Ark Thrift Shop last week. Mckenzie Cassidy.

If decades of experience have taught volunteers at the Noah’s Ark Thrift Shop one thing, it’s to expect the shop to be packed on Bag Day.

Mimie DiRico, a resident of Sanibel Island for the last six years, was shopping at Noah’s Ark last week and said she was excited about the annual sale.

“It’s so much fun,” she said, having attended the last five years in a row. “It’s utter chaos, everybody in town is here.”

Before the doors open at 9:30 a.m., customers purchase specially marked bags in the parking lot for $4 each. They fill the bags with any items from the store and anything that doesn’t fit is sold at 80 percent off.

“You get a bag and keep filling it up, filling it up, and they don’t care,” she said.

The sale has turned into a tradition for many islanders, and it marks the end of summer for Noah’s Ark before it closes until Oct. 1 for cleaning and repairs.

On a typical day there can be up to 100 people lined up in the morning before the shop opens, said Sue Scutakes, this year’s chairwoman of Noah’s Ark, and on Bag Day the store is even more busy.

“We get rid of everything,” said Scutakes. “Whatever remains we send on to other charities.”

The thrift shop supports nearly 20 regional and international charities including Sanibel Community and Housing Resources (CHR), Sanibel Sea School, Habitat for Humanity, SanCap Outreach, and F.I.S.H. of Sanibel.

Seventy-eight local volunteers manage the thrift shop in season and a majority of donations come from the Sanibel community, yet Scutakes said they also come from Southwest Florida and the Northeast as well.

Noah’s Ark will reopen for the winter season on Oct. 1 only on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. The schedule returns to Monday through Friday, and the first Saturday of each month, in November.

The shop is closed for donations from Aug. 16 to Sept. 1, but will accept donations again in the month of September. It’s located behind St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church at 2304 Periwinkle Way in Sanibel. For more information, call 472-3356.