As regulars to the Re-Use-It Centre can testify, the non-profit thrift store regularly gets interesting — and sometimes valuable — items donated.
Now, you can bid for some of those unique pieces online. Whistler Community Services Society has set up an eBay account to allow people to bid for select prize items from both the Re-Use-It and Re-Build-It Centres.
But not all the best treasures will be culled from the stores, said manager Paul Rehel. That would ruin the fun of searching for a bargain. “If we have something nice we’d rather it stay in Whistler, but eBay gives us another avenue to raise awareness of what WCSS does, rather than just finding a place to sell the good stuff,” Rehel said.
The first piece up for grabs was a pricey Italian chess set. It sold from a display at the Re-Build-It Centre, but a unique model car is still online. The roll out of items will be slow and deliberate, Rehel added.
“I’d say once a week we’ll get something really interesting,” he said. “There’s a difference between something really interesting and something valuable. Everyone has different interests and ideas… Everyone tends to look more for things that are interesting than valuable.”
That said, some customers have happily reported buying items for cheap in the store only to later discover that they’re quite pricey. One woman, for example, recently bought a designer purse for $5 and learned it was worth hundreds, Rehel said.
Part of the store’s purpose is to offer locals bargains, he added. “We’re not going through everything and picking out the nice stuff,” he said. “That’s what brings people in. They like to come in and hunt for bargains. We want people to find things that are worth more than they paid for.”
The eBay site is currently open only to Canadian shoppers to save on shipping costs. One of the next potential items: a Canucks’ jersey signed by one of the Sedin twins. “We can put it up in the store and we can sell it for $50, but it’s worth triple that,” Rehel said.
This isn’t the Re-Use-It Centre’s first foray into auctioning. Last year, a painting by Canadian artist Claire Bice came into the store and was appraised at $1,700. The organization put the piece up for auction with help from Penny Eder at White Dog Whistler Gallery and sold it for $750 with proceeds going to WCSS.
To check out the eBay account visit www.ebay.ca/usr/whistlercommunityservices_reuseit_rebuildit.