Friday, March 6, 2015

A Trip to Remus...

My Uncle lives in the Canadian Lakes area, on a really nice fishing lake-it's perfect for him, because he eats, breathes, and sleeps fishing. He doesn't do much fishing in the winter, but he does a LOT of volunteering. He has been volunteering at a local thrift store/food pantry for about 7 years or so now called God's Helping Hands. He "works" there two days a week, and he does taxes for free for low-income people two days a week during tax season.

He keeps asking me to come visit the thrift store to see if I can find any treasures-which would help the store and me at the same time. Today was the day. It's a little over 2 hours away, so it's not a trip I can make every week. The store is only open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9am-noon. I got there about 10:45 and I was really shocked to see a packed parking lot. It seems like it is out in the middle of nowhere, but people flock to it.

There are 3 paid staff members and what looked to me like about 15-20 volunteers. I was made to feel very welcome, the minute I walked in, and was given a cart to help me load up on treasures. I skipped the clothes and headed right for the housewares.

My uncle sent me emails last week telling me they were over-loaded on dishes and glassware and it would be a perfect time for me to visit. The housewares section was very bare. I was expecting to find over-flowing shelves and things stacked on the floor, from his email description. I brought lots of cash because I was expecting to buy a ton of vintage dinner plates for my friend Bonnie and her barn wedding reception business.

My uncle emailed me and told me that I should get there before 11am so that I would have time to go through everything. I chuckle now when I think about it...I went through the whole place 3 or 4 times in 15 minutes! Once he caught up to me, he had me look at some of the more expensive stuff to see if there was anything I'd be interested in. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything on those shelves that had to come home with me.

I did find a couple of vintage tablecloths for fifty cents each and three salad plates for Bonnie (all that they had) for thirty five cents. I made a little donation with my purchase, and then my uncle gave me the unofficial tour. I was impressed with their whole operation.They have a great little thrift store, with a wide variety of donated items for sale, and their food pantry looked like it was a very well-oiled machine.

Even the check-out area had three check-out stations with three cashiers and three baggers-one for each cashier, so that no one had to wait to check-out. After a little conversation on the process of the store and food pantry, we went into the town of Remus to a little diner for lunch. It was a great homey little place and the food was delicious.

After lunch, we walked next door to a little antique shop. with quirky hand written poster board signs stapled on the siding outside. It was jam-packed with tons of glassware, and a few other antiques. The prices were high, but the owner told us it was a special price day if we saw anything we liked to let him know and we'd get a good price.

We didn't find anything, and I had to laugh as we walked out and were crossing the street to our cars, my uncle said, "how does someone get so much stuff?" and "I'd hate to have to move all of that out of there, or even in for that matter!" Non-junk people, or non-collectors just can't comprehend! (wink)

He wrote out directions for me to their local Habitat for Humanity Store...he doesn't use a GPS, so it didn't even cross his mind that I could just use that for directions. He just learned how to text at lunch when I showed him!! I think he got the hang of it, because I got 4 texts on the way home and another after I got home!

I also stopped at a Goodwill, a Salvation Army and three antique shops. I had read a lot of Yelp reviews on one of the shops before I left home this morning, and for the most part they were all bad. Shoppers complaining about the owners telling them no large purses, backpacks or bags allowed in the store. I never carry a purse when I'm antiquing, I have a little wallet that fits really nicely in my front pocket, so I don't have to worry about my purse swinging and knocking something over, and I have two free hands to pick stuff up with.

I saw the signs when I walked in, and I had read all the Yelpers reviews, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Based on their reviews, I was expecting very rude and nasty workers. Instead, I was greeted very warmly, and was left alone to wander and look at and touch whatever I wanted-just like any other antique mall or shop I've ever been to.

I bought a couple of things and the husband wrapped while the wife rang me up. I was undecided on a Pyrex fridgie, and wandered over to get it, but when I got back to the counter, I noticed the color was dishwasher damaged. She very nicely pointed that out to me, and he pointed out to me that the lid of the jadeite dish I was buying had a little chip in the corner.

I was impressed with them being honest about the defects, even though I already knew about them, because I had looked the items over thoroughly before I decided to buy. I ended up putting back the dark brown fridgie, because even though it was pretty cheap, it was too DWD for me. I had a pleasant shopping experience there, and I plan to post a positive Yelp review.

It was a long day, but a nice sunshiney, blue sky kind of day (even if it was only between 8 and 20 degrees all day). A great day to be out and about.

Here are my treasures from today's trip.

Yes,the opened tablecloth has a tiny hole...I don't usually do was fifty was for charity. Everything pictured, Pyrex divided dish,Pyrex orange fridgie (great shape), two tablecloths and three plates=less than $20.

 There were signs inside that were hand-written too.My favorites were "No Profanity", and "Friend, have you prayed today?"

 This just about made me cry...what a waste of a gorgeous tablecloth!!! Why?!?!?!?

 Yes, that snowbank is almost as tall as my SUV. I'm so done with winter, snow and cold!!

I didn't even know Michigan had a St. Louis! This was only a mile or so off 127. I've driven within a mile of it for many years and never knew it existed.

I forgot to take a picture of the Yelper's hated mall. I would recommend it. They had good prices and a good selection, and I can understand the reason for not allowing big bags, backpacks or giant purses. I may never visit it again, because it's too far away, but if it were closer, I would definately go back.

While I was out, I got a couple of texts from a volleyball friend. Her team is in an all day tournament tomorrow, and one of their players backed out. I've subbed before and actually played on her team all last year. I couldn't play this year because of my surgery early in the season. I offered to play for a couple of hours, I just don't think my knees could hold up all day though. I'll find out early tomorrow morning if she needs me or not. The school where the tournament is, is only about a mile and a half from my house, so no big deal if she calls at the last minute.

On Sunday, we'll be saying good-bye to one of our pastor's who is taking over the head pastor position at a church in Pennsylvania. Busy weekend!!

Hope you have a great weekend!!


  1. I am all for salvaging tablecloths and making dishtowels or tote bags, but that shirt/jacket is just too much! It looks like they took a perfectly good tablecloth and made it. So sad!

    Sounds like you had a wonderful day with your uncle, even if the thrift store wasn't what you expected.

    Have an awesome weekend!


  2. You went, you saw and you shopped. You just never know what you will find. You did find a few goodies.