For the media

Sustainable shopping supports Sharp

By The Health News Team | August 17, 2021
Moni Gutierrez at Sharp Grossmont Hospital's Thrift Korral

Moni Gutierrez is a regular shopper at the Thrift Korral, a resale boutique in La Mesa that supports Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

Who knew that cutting your carbon footprint could be chic, cheap and support important programs such as hospice and cancer care?

Thrifting is a thing — a very good thing — and it's caught on with the younger demographic. Growing up amid the global climate change discussion, environmental stewardship is top of mind, and thrifting is a sustainable way of shopping. Add to it that you might score a cute blouse for four bucks, and it's a win-win for everyone.

The Thrift Korral is a resale boutique in La Mesa, operated by Sharp Grossmont Hospital. In its 29-year history, the 10,000-square-foot shop has helped donate more than $3.7 million to the hospital and hospice residences in San Diego County. The Thrift Korral is a treasure trove of donated clothing, purses, jewelry, housewares, furniture, arts and crafts, books, records, children's clothing and more.

It's an important cause for hospital programs and initiatives, and a reminder that reusing household items, furniture and clothing means less going to waste in a landfill or elsewhere. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) estimates that nearly 20% of global wastewater is produced by the fashion industry, which also emits about 10% of global carbon emissions. Coupled with saving money and the thrill of the hunt, those numbers are much of the reason why thrifting has become a hobby for so many people.

North Park resident Moni Gutierrez is a regular at the Thrift Korral, and routinely brings friends along to introduce them to what she calls "my store." She even used it as a meetup place for a first date.

"Whenever I describe the store, I tell people it's a lot of 'new vintage' stuff," says Moni. "You can tell people bought it a long time ago and took really good care of it, or didn't even use it at all."

"It's all about reduce, reuse and recycle. People buy new, fake versions of vintage clothing at the mall, but here it's real, and it needs a home." A motorcycle rider, Moni says she's also unearthed Harley-Davidson shirts at the store, file cabinets and other office supplies for her small business, and framed artwork to decorate her home.

Teenage shoppers Bella, 16, and Berlyn, 17, estimated that about 90% of the high school girls they know thrift. "We don't make as much money as adults, and it's a way for us to buy cheaper clothes," says Berlyn. "And we like to look at the vinyl records too."

More than 80 volunteers staff the Thrift Korral, including some of Sharp Grossmont's Junior Volunteers. Olivia Jensen, a Junior Volunteer and recent El Capitan High School graduate, says her time spent working at the store yielded some fantastic treasures for her wardrobe, particularly for one very special event.

"I found my prom dress there last year, it was the craziest find," says Olivia. "My mom and I were supposed to go to L.A. and buy a dress, but because of COVID I started looking around here. I was working in the store every Wednesday, and found this gorgeous, slim-fitted rose gold dress that still had the tags on it."

Olivia not only took that dress home to try on, but also took another she found for a friend to test out. "They both fit us perfectly, and we wore them for prom," says Olivia.

The Thrift Korral is located at 8693 La Mesa Boulevard in La Mesa, and is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 am to 4 pm. Donations are accepted Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm, and pick up is available by appointment. Call 619-828-0095 to schedule an appointment.

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