In a line spanning from the door of Hosparus Health Thrift Shoppe in Helmwood Plaza shopping center to right past the entrance of Save A Lot, more than 150 people eagerly waited Saturday morning for the shop to open its doors at 9 a.m. for its annual Christmas Bazaar.
Some of the shoppers, such as Carl Dipietro, Wyvonnia Dilliard and Connie Evans, got in line at 5:30 a.m. to have the first look at holiday bargains in the store.
Dilliard said she shops at the thrift shop all the time, calling it her “favorite store.” On Saturday, Dilliard said she was on the lookout for a white Christmas tree and nutcrackers.
Jackie Thompson, 2, who stood in line with Tiffany Thompson, also was looking for a Christmas tree.
Further back in the line was Elizabethtown resident Katie Stuart, who arrived around 8:30 a.m. She attended the event last year as well.
“It was a lot of fun. I stayed longer than I thought I would,” she said, noting she also spent more money than she thought she would last year. “It is a lot of fun and has all kinds of different variety.”
When the doors opened at 9 a.m., Manager Moira Taylor said they counted 160 customers – more than they had at that time during last year’s event. They all were handed bags and greeted by Santa Claus.
As quickly as shoppers were filling bags and carts, volunteers and staff were bringing out more items for shoppers to scoop up. The event featured a variety of Christmas decorations, keepsakes, antiques, wreaths and artificial trees.
Glenda Pence of Big Clifty checked out with one cart full of goods and returned for more. She said she attends each year for the bargains.
Elizabethtown resident Patricia Runyon, who typically shops at the thrift shop, said she went to the store Saturday morning and pleasantly was surprised to find the Christmas Bazaar happening.
“We are blessed to have something like this. I love it,” she said. “I’m excited to see everybody just shopping.”
Taylor said it’s always their goal “for people to enjoy the experience.”
Taylor said 42 volunteers and four staff members spent all day Friday preparing for Saturday’s event. Money raised at the thrift shop benefits patients and families of Hosparus Health.
“Hosparus Health cares for patients regardless of their ability to pay, so funding is always needed and the thrift shop is just one of those things that supplements the other avenues of funding that Hosparus Health gets,” she said.