In the Marketplace | September 18,2020
Thrift Shop’s Shift to Online Auctions Proves COVID Can’t Kill Local Charity
The Ridgefield Thrift Store makes a shift from in-store, traditional sales to online auctions in the age of COVID-19

For years, the Ridgefield Thrift Store (RTS) has successfully operated their donations-based thrift shop with a 100% volunteer staff in an idyllic Connecticut setting. Their mission? To support non-profit local organizations through the recycling, re-purposing and reselling of generously donated goods and to provide the opportunity for people to purchase affordable merchandise at their Ridgefield, CT shop.

Auction NinjaThen COVID-19 struck the region. Between forced shutdowns and safety concerns of their volunteers (the vast majority of whom are senior citizens and in a higher risk bracket for severe complications if they should contract this disease), RTS's shop was closed for months and has only recently reopened on a very limited scale.

But none of this deterred the intrepid volunteer leadership from seeking another venue in order to achieve their mission. That is when Jennifer Mitchell, member of the Ridgefield Thrift Store looked to AuctionNinja to create RTS online auctions. After getting the details she needed to approach the board at RTS, Jennifer received the green light to move forward. 

"Due to Covid, the shop is open only two days a week from 12-4pm," explains Mitchell. "Since we have limited hours to the public we are excited to launch RTS Online Auction, which will allow our customers to shop our unique and beautiful wares from the convenience from their home." 

Their inaugural charity auction, "RTS First Ever Online Auction," is currently running (as of the writing of this blog) on AuctionNinja and will close on September 30. So far, the RTS team is thrilled with the results they are seeing on AuctionNinja's portal. A couple of the current "stand-out" lots in this auction include a beautiful Mexican sterling silver serving tray (14.25", 1170 grams) -- item #1051 -- and an absolutely stunning Charles Neil oil on board painting "The Lily Pond Reflections Afternoon July" -- item #1022.

Auction Ninja          Auction Ninja

The Ridgefield Thrift Shop was founded in 1937 with a mission to support other local non-profits by recycling, repurposing and reselling generously donated goods. The shop is staffed entirely by more than 100 volunteers who manage every aspect of the retail operation and the charitable philanthropy of the organization. RTS's business continues to grow tremendously since their relocation to their new, larger space on Governor Street in 2018.

Auction Ninja

"The support from the community has been amazing. Our donations have increased dramatically, as has the popularity of the shop," states Mitchell. "We get customers from as far away as Hartford, Brooklyn, and upstate New York. This has allowed us to give back even more to our community."

In March of 2020, RTS awarded a record-breaking $750,000 to 92 local non-profit organizations whose recipients represent a wide array of groups in the greater Ridgefield community, including Danbury, Norwalk, Wilton, Redding and North Salem. This is a 50 percent increase over the organization's 2019 grants, when the shop donated $500,000 to more than 70 organizations.

The Ridgefield Thrift Store’s shift to online auctions is a testament that COVID-19 can’t kill this charity.

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