Local | News

1st Rate 2nd Hand, Tucson’s Jewish thrift store, to close by end of month

An acrylic Torah stand was among Judaica recently at 1st Rate 2nd Hand.

The 1st Rate 2nd Hand Thrift Store, which was started in 2007 as a way to earn extra funds for Jewish organizations while helping budget-conscious consumers and keeping cast-off items out of the waste stream, will close its doors this month.

1st Rate 2nd Hand’s original concept included having volunteers from various organizations work in the store to supplement paid workers. The organizations earned a share in the annual proceeds based on their volunteers’ hours. In its first year of distributions, 1st Rate dispensed $72,000 among 30 institutions that together logged almost 4,500 volunteer hours. But in recent years, fewer volunteers have been putting in time at the store.

The store was started under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona but earned its own nonprofit status in June 2010. It moved to its present location at 5851 E. Speedway Blvd. a few months later.

Competition from online resale sites such as Poshmark and Letgo has been another factor chipping away at the viability of thrift stores in general.

“It’s been a pleasure to be able to serve the entire community,” says Cathy Olswing, board member and former treasurer. “Nice to be able to do our mitzvah to help the Jewish organizations in our community do their mitzvah work.”

 A 50% off closeout sale started Feb. 2. There is still a good selection of Judaica, including beautiful menorahs and Shabbat candlesticks, says board member Bertí Brodsky (full disclosure: Brodsky is the AJP’s sales manager). The store must close by Feb. 28.

For more information, call 327-5252.