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Store Opens Doors

July 1, 2011

Staff photo/Beth Lipton: From left, Devin Coil, Dalton Murphy, owner Michelle Murphy and Hunter Arroyo stand behind the counter at Penny Pinchers, which celebrated its grand opening on Friday.

ST. MARYS — Customers can find a little bit of everything at St. Marys’ newest thrift store, Penny Pinchers, which celebrated its grand opening Friday morning.

Owner Michelle Murphy said shopping at the thrift store is like going on a treasure hunt.

“It’s a treasure find,” Murphy said. “Every time you walk into a thrift store, it’s a treasure find. God knows what you’re walking out with.”

Murphy said she opened the store because of the current economy.

“My husband hauls steel for a living so when the economy started going downhill so did income,” Murphy said. “Everybody’s money was tight. Everybody you talked to, it was tight.”

Murphy and her neighbor started planning to open a thrift store two years ago. The two opened Nearly New in Wapakoneta a year ago, but Murphy wanted to open one in St. Marys as well. Murphy said she was hesitant at first to open Penny Pinchers.

“I had hesitated because there were so many thrift stores in St. Marys at the time,” Murphy said. “When Goodwill left and prices started going up, other than Agape and Replay, there was no other place to go get some cheap cloths at the spur of the moment.”

Murphy’s goal is to keep her merchandise affordable.

“I don’t feel that prices should be so outrages that somebody walks into a second-hand store and they turn around and walk out because they can’t afford it,” Murphy said. “That to me is ridiculous. It’s second-hand items.”

She said Penny Pinchers is accepting donations of any kind, with the exception of console TVs. Murphy noted that she has trouble selling console TVs.

“Everything else goes, furniture, bedding, clothing, knick-knacks,” Murphy said.

“You name it, we’d probably take it. A lot of the things that people just throw in the corner in the garage, they don’t even think about doing anything with. People come to thrift stores to look for those oddball items.”

Murphy noted that they will accept items during business hours.

“We do accept during business hours because of the alley,” Murphy said. “If they let us know that they’re out there, we’ll bring it through the back door.”

Currently, Murphy is not accepting applications for employment but said she hopes to do so in the future. The store is currently operated by her and five of her children.

“Every one of my children has contributed to this store many late hours,” Murphy said. “They are just as excited about it as anybody else.”

 Murphy wants to help others out as much as possible.

“We help out as much as we can,” she said. “We’re not a nonprofit, so we do have the overhead of all of our bills, just like everybody else does. We try to help out anybody that needs it. The state requires that we are a nonprofit to accept welfare vouchers. Because we are not allowed to accept them, if they show us papers, we have no problem in helping somebody that needs it. We try to help out as much as we possibly can.”

Murphy is hoping to meet the community’s needs and is open to feedback.

“(I) love opinions, love their feedback — negative and positive,” Murphy said. “I’m sure I’ll have both, but at the same time, I can’t make changes unless I get their feedback, so come check us out.”

Murphy said she is hopeful about the future of Penny Pinchers.

“Hopefully everything turns out the way I’m hoping it will and bring some business back downtown where it belongs, as far as I’m concerned,” Murphy said.

Penny Pinchers is located on East Spring Street in downtown St. Marys at the former Goodwill store location. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The store is closed on Sundays and on holidays.

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