Thrift store a good fit for Windh
Post Independent Staff
One of the oldest stores in Glenwood Springs is under new management. The For You Shoppe on Cooper Avenue, where thrifty folks have found bargains on clothes and housewares for the past 36 years, is now owned by Rachael Windh.
Windh bought the store from Chris Steuben in March. Steuben owned the shop, which has always operated as a second-hand clothing and housewares business, for 12 years.
She’s managed to keep the doors open for the most part, closing them for only a few days while she gave the store a much-needed face-lift.
Windh moved here in 1980, but took a sabbatical from Glenwood in 2000, following her dreams to Paris for about five months, then returning to California to be with her mother, who was dying of cancer.
When her mother passed away last August, she decided to return to Glenwood Springs.
“I moved to Glenwood Springs in November but there were no jobs,” she said. Despite a master’s degree in social work, there was just nothing out there to match her skills.
One day she was in the For You Shoppe, and while she was telling Steuben about her problems finding a job, Steuben suggested she buy the store.
As wild-hare ideas sometimes have a habit of taking hold, Windh soon had confirmation that it might work.
Shortly after talking with Steuben, she had a dream in which her mother and grandmother urged her to go ahead with the idea.
“My grandmother said, `Buy the store, you’ll do fine,'” Windh recalled.
The more she thought about it the more appealing it became. After all, she has a history with second-hand stores in town.
Windh worked at Nancy’s New To You for about a year in 1994. When the Defiance Thrift Store opened in 1997 she took the helm as manager and stayed there for three years. Going back to her earliest years in Glenwood in the 1980s, Windh had also worked for Steuben at For You for a short time.
“It’s been in and out of my life for years,” she said.
And the idea of buying second-hand both for thrift and as a way to recycle has always been important to her.
“I’ve always been a thrift shopper. My favorite memory was going to the dump with my dad,” she added. He’d sift through the discards and find something to refurbish and resell.
She also had in mind a job that would give her the flexibility to take time off. Windh explained she has traveled to Europe several times and is planning a trip next year.
“I also wanted to walk to work,” she said. Windh lives nearby on Bennett.
But most of all she wanted to make her work meaningful.
“I want to use my social work skills,” she said.
First off, after she bought the store, she contacted Karolyn Spencer at the Salvation Army to hire some of her clients to paint the interior of the store.
“They were great,” she said of the laborers.
She also wanted to use a portion of the proceeds from her consignment store to support local charities. Now she’s set up a rack of clothes in the center of the store with free clothing. There is a sign atop the rack that encourages folks to take what they want but leave a donation.
This month Windh is collecting donations for Marla Gettman, a woman who grew up in Glenwood and who was gravely injured in a car accident in December.
So far Windh’s taken in about $200.
In addition, people who bring in their clothes for resale can designate their share – the store keeps half and the customer gets half – for charity.
For Windh, the idea of running a business and supporting the community are completely compatible, albeit a bit unusual.
“You’ve got to think outside your business box,” she explained.
She also hopes to tackle the long-term problem all thrift and consignment stores have with unsold clothing.
Sales just can’t keep up with the loads of clothes coming in daily. When the racks get too full most stores resort to throwing the unsold clothes in the Dumpster.
Windh would like to find a way to collect unsold clothing from all the second-hand stores in the area and ship them to Mexico or Indian reservations. But she needs to find someone willing to take them there.
The For you Shoppe is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Donations are accepted every day; Windh just asks that they be clean and in good repair.
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