The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Local thrift shop encourages creativity with online bulletin board
BY LINDLEY ESTES
The Fredericksburg Salvation Army hopes to boost sales and get new people interested in the organization by offering shoppers creative ways to re-use the items sold at the Lafayette Boulevard thrift store.
The Christian nonprofit is reaching out to shoppers through Pinterest.com, an online bulletin board where users can “pin” images of their creations or get ideas for ways to re-use merchandise.
Users create pinboards to show off their crafts, plan weddings, store and share recipes and more.
“I love Pinterest personally,” said development director Elizabeth Willett, who runs the Fredericksburg Salvation Army’s social media effort.
“It is cool to see what you can do with items,” she said. “I started it because of the thrift store. We have some great items. And we have a lot of customers who love the vintage, do-it-yourself look.”
Willett has created pinboards for crafts that could be done with things found in the thrift shop, an inspirational quote board and board on how to live a healthy life on a budget.
Willett asks customers who are re-purposing objects to send in “before” and “after” pictures to post on the website.
Featured on the site are projects by customers who bought glassware to turn into birdbaths and refinished pieces of furniture.
Fredericksburg Salvation Army office manager Misty Lebeau also re-purposes goods purchased from the thrift store. She refurbishes dressers and makes signs out of cabinet doors.
“It’s affordable,” she said. “You re-purpose it and it looks like something you got downtown.”
She also said that she gets a lot of her ideas from Pinterest.
“There are so many ideas,” she said. “It makes it easy.”
Willett hopes pinning ideas will bring more people into the thrift shop.
“It’s a cool way to connect with other people and give them ideas,” she said. “And it localizes Pinterest. Most of the people you follow on there could be across the country, where Facebook and Twitter are already local.”
Currently, there are multiple pieces at the thrift store that Willett said would make excellent refurbished pieces.
Dressers, at an average cost of $35, are easy to paint.
She said that TV cabinets and entertainment centers can be turned into armoires.
“People have flatscreens now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use this piece for something else,” she said.
Willett said that so far the best re-purposing idea she has had from Pinterest is using Mason jars from the thrift shop as drinking glasses.
She is always on the lookout since she’ll be using them in her upcoming wedding.
“I have a huge wedding planning Pinterest board,” she said.
Willett said that she has seen a positive response to the site, which has been up for two months.
However, she doesn’t think a lot of people understand how to use the service yet.
“A lot of our donors and sponsors are older,” she said. “Pinterest is generational. It’s young. We’re trying to get younger people engaged.”
It is also a cost-effective way to get information to the public.
“We don’t have any marketing money,” Willett said. “We are completely run on donations.”
She said that the organization relies on their social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to advertise what they have and to get word out about their needs.
Willett said she hopes to generate more interest in the site by running contests on Pinterest. Contestants would submit projects done with thrift store finds and Pinterest followers could vote on the best submission.
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Follow the Fredericksburg Salvation Army on Pinterest on the web at: pinterest.com/salarmyfburg/
The group’s other social media sites may be found on Facebook: facebook.com/FredSalvation Army or Twitter: twitter.com/salarmyfburg.
Visit the thrift store at 2010 Lafayette Blvd. or call 540/891-2242.