Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Gold Mine gets a facelift

Spring opening will feature new look and new loot

Express Staff Writer

A frequent shopper of the Gold Mine Thrift Shop leaves with a fist full of bags and jeans.

After 19 years, and now closed for the first time for more than three days, the Gold Mine Thrift Shop will feature more than just spring clothing, sports equipment and house wares.

On Friday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Gold Mine will open its doors to show off new carpeting, freshly painted walls and new flooring in its back room.

"This year the library board decided to give the Gold Mine an overhaul," said Jan Mason of the Gold Mine. "It was 13 years ago when we got new carpet."

People have been coming to the Gold Mine for 51 years, and the average length of employment for Gold Mine employees is about 12 years.

"There are other choices for people to make donations, but people make specific requests to donate to the Gold Mine because they love the library," Mason said. "We want to make sure the donors know how much we appreciate their donations."

Originally in an old miner's shack, the Gold Mine has been a thrift store in Ketchum since 1955. It was started by a group of pioneering women who wanted to create a free public library for the Wood River Valley. The Gold Mine was created to raise money because the tax base at the time was too small to support a library.

In 1957, through a great deal of effort and fundraising ingenuity, the Community Library opened in the building that today houses the Gold Mine. Proceeds from the Gold Mine help fund a great deal of the Community Library's free services.

"People have wonderful memories, but we have to be reasonable and not to look too different," Mason said. "A new roof was put on in the fall and the second phase was to spruce up the inside."

The Gold Mine is a much larger operation than what appears on the sales floor. There are lots of donations, which go through the alley behind the store where a conveyor belt runs bags down to a space in the basement of The Courtyard building.

"We lease the space and stage all the donations there. It is sorted outside and then comes into the room," Mason said. "We go through every article and touch it all. There are treasures to be found. You have to have a sense of what people might want, especially when it comes to our long time customers, but most important is that the end product that goes to the library."

The Spring opening will include everything from shorts and sun dresses to bathing suits and wet suits, as well as tennis racquets and bikes and much more.

"We will have a house wares room and plan to feature spring colors. We are starting fresh," Mason said. "The Gold Mine can change just a little bit but not too much."

For more information, call 726-3465.

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