30 years of feel-good thrifting

By The Health News Team | April 7, 2022
Volunteers and staff at the Thrift Korral in La Mesa

Dedicated staff and volunteers of the Thrift Korral celebrated 30 years since its opening.

Close your eyes and travel back in time to 1992, when “Batman Returns” was the highest grossing film, stamps cost 29 cents, and in East County, the Thrift Korral opened its doors for the first time.

La Mesa’s not-so-hidden gem, the Thrift Korral, has been a staple in the community for more reasons than one throughout its history. This boutique resale and thrift shop isn’t just a great place to find your next wardrobe staple or refreshed home décor — shopping here is something you can feel good about.

The Grossmont Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary operates the Thrift Korral, with the proceeds benefiting the hospital as well as Sharp HospiceCare. Armed with a team of 55 volunteers and several staff members, the Thrift Korral’s 10,000-square-foot shop has donated nearly $1.5 million to the hospital throughout its 30-year history.

Keeping pace with changing times — and clientele
Over the years, the Thrift Korral has seen an evolution of not just items donated, but also the people who are shopping for their next great find.

“We’ve been seeing younger shoppers who are looking to reduce, reuse and recycle. East County is changing too, and we’re seeing younger families shopping and donating. There’s really something for everyone here,” says Linda Van Fulpen, manager of Volunteer Services at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

According to a 2021 report from ThredUp, 36 billion clothing items are thrown away in the U.S. each year, 95% of which could be recycled or reused. The good news? The same study states that 45% of millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) and Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) claim that they refuse to purchase from nonsustainable brands and retailers, further proving that thrift shops and retail spaces are here to stay.

Thrift Korral has much to offer and benefits many
On any given day, you can find the team of Thrift Korral volunteers and staff receiving and sorting generous donations, cleaning items, filling racks with clothing, and delivering service with a smile. Look around the shop and you’ll see areas of clothing, accessories and shoes. Other displays showcase beautiful tea and dishware sets, books and board games, and an impressive children’s section. Looking to furnish your place with a new chair or unique art? The Thrift Korral has that too.

Not only are shoppers benefiting from the donated items, but patients are too. Through the Auxiliary’s and Volunteer Services’ Discharge With Dignity program, Sharp Grossmont patients in need of clothing or shoes when leaving the hospital can receive what they need, oftentimes from the Thrift Korral’s donated merchandise.

As the Thrift Korral sets its sight on the next 30 years and beyond, there is immense gratitude to those who led the way years ago, and for those who continue to support a shop with a mission to give back. While countless articles of clothing and other items have made their way from the Thrift Korral to their new homes, the ripple effect continues to spread throughout our communities and beyond.

Visit the Thrift Korral at 8693A La Mesa Blvd. in La Mesa, Monday through Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm (closed Sundays). Donations are accepted Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 3 pm.

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