Since 2004, Treasures 4 Teachers has been helping educators fill their classrooms with donated school and office supplies.
But some of the donations T4T gets aren’t really for classroom use, like living-room furniture, dishes and clothes.
“I would get all this great stuff,” warehouse coordinator Saundra Salotti said. “I asked, why don’t we open a thrift store?”
Six months later, the opportunity has arisen. On Oct. 10, the T4T Thrift Shop will open to the public, with Salotti in her new role as manager. The 2,000-square-foot store is next to Treasures 4 Teachers on South 48th Street in Tempe.
“You never know what you’re going to get here,” she said about the “funky little boutique,” adding:
“I wanted the feel of a boutique for the thrift store.”
T4T founder and Executive Director Barbara Blalock says Salotti is the right person to make it happen. She said Salotti “has experience and an eye for design and style.”
Salotti grew up in the antique business, learning it from her mother and grandparents. She owned antique stores in Palm Desert, California, and Ithaca, New York. She was also in management at Home Depot for 17 years and once managed a thrift store.
She joined the T4T staff about a year ago.
She offered her expertise to Blalock after noticing the kind of things that companies and individuals were donating.
“We were getting everyday donations besides teaching materials,” Salotti said. “We were getting clothes, shoes, housewares and jewelry.”
At first, they would donate the non-schoolroom items to other charities, like Hidden Treasures Thrift Store in Chandler and Sunshine Acres Children’s Home in Mesa. Later, they started holding on to some items with the thought of reselling them later.
“We had three or four storage units and 15 pallets of stuff,” she said. “We have limited space, so we picked…