Story by Kristen Wong on 10/05/2018Get ready to pop some tags at the Hickam Thrift Shop. From German steins to stuffed animals to even high-end items, there is no shortage of variety in this store, aboard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The thrift shop is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., though closed on federal and state holidays. The shop is located in building 1723. Anyone with access to JBPHH is allowed to shop at the thrift shop.
The Hickam Officers' Spouses' Club operates the thrift shop, which has moved to various locations on base throughout the years, and has been around since as early as the 1950s.
Those who would like to donate may bring their items 24 hours a day, either placing it in one of the two white bins that sit in front of the shop or handing it to a volunteer or staff member during hours of operation.
The thrift shop staff cannot accept certain items, such as old TVs (flatscreens are ok), large electronics, computers, auto parts, gas cans with gas and used motor oil, adult entertainment or books, mattresses, bed pillows and child car seats.
The shop sells housewares, linens, clothing, books, DVDs, decorations and more. On occasion, customers may find rare items, whether brand new, expensive or even from another country.
"We get a lot of items that people had purchased overseas like Kokeshi dolls or German steins, nutcrackers, a lot of that type of stuff," said Laura Canup, the store manager.
The thrift shop regularly publicizes items on its Facebook. Sometimes staff members and volunteers even show off merchandise by wearing donated costumes.
Canup also said that they encourage customers to post their "Pinterest projects," to show what they've created from thrift shop items.
"Our regular customers know to check Facebook every morning before the store's open," said Kimberly Dobbs, the HOSC president.
The staff may also post the store's specials for the day.
"People will come from all over the island when they hear we're having our infant or children sales," Canup said. "Our infant clothes will be 50 cents for all infant clothing and they'll come from Hawaii Kai, Schofield, North Shore, (and) Waianae just for those sales."
Part of the mission at the thrift shop is to inspire customers to repurpose items. Sometimes, the thrift shop will receive donations that may seem destined for the trash can. However, Canup said the staff encourages people to get creative with an item that "has potential," whether it is a bicycle frame or a single drawer. The staff calls them a "Pinterest project," referring to the website where people can share new craft ideas for old items, among other topics.
In addition, Canup said that the staff also uses donations to their advantage. For instance, items used in the thrift shop office, such as the printer, table, wall clock and various decorations were all donations. Canup added that she has never had to buy printer paper.
"We try to use as much as we can that comes in to fill our store," she said. "We're spending less so we can give back more."
The club gives back each year through monetary donations. From June 2017 to May 2018, HOSC was able to donate $217,914 to local charities, national military charities, local military-impacted schools, JBPHH charities and scholarships. Some charities have included the American Red Cross, the Tripler Fisher House and the Pearl Harbor Armed Services YMCA.
As the store begins to fill up with customers each morning, volunteers can be seen heading into the shop office to grab one of the military pattern aprons and greet each other with smiles and light conversation.
"Our volunteers really do develop wonderful relationships with one another," Canup said. "They establish these friendships and bonds and do stuff outside of the thrift shop."
There are currently more than 30 volunteers. There is no minimum hourly requirement to fulfill at the thrift shop. The volunteers can volunteer as much as or as little as they'd like.
Canup said that the thrift shop is a good place for people such as high school students and boy scouts to fulfill their community service needs. She adds that volunteering at the shop may be a good way for some to build their resume.
Many of the volunteers are also "empty nesters," meaning their children are already grown to an independent age and in some cases has already left home. Dobbs said she has more time to volunteer now that her son is in high school. She said she also volunteers because, as president of HOSC, she'd like to set an example for others.
Volunteers must be age 16 or older and possess a valid Department of Defense ID card.
Kelly Docauer became a volunteer for the thrift shop when her son became involved. Docauer's son has special needs, and is unable to work.
She said the thrift shop has been welcoming to him.
"It's a good opportunity for him to be able to interact (with others), learn some skills," Docauer said. "I've been very happy with that."
Volunteer Nicole Jensen is a member of the HOSC board. She felt volunteering at the thrift shop was "perfect," as she wanted to give back to the community.
"People come get good deals but at the same time all the money we make goes back into the community," she said. "I don't mind shopping here either, finding good deals myself."
Volunteers are given a discount at the thrift shop on the day that they volunteer, and must work at least two hours. For a complete list of volunteer guidelines, and to obtain an application form, visit https://hickamosc.wildapricot.org/thriftshop.