By Janet Goetze
For the Hollywood Star News
The Golden Treasures gift shop and the Hollywood Senior Center’s thrift store are sharing the same storefront at 1820 N.E. 40th Ave., with a new interior design that volunteer shopkeepers have pronounced “more user friendly.”
The thrift store, featuring gently used clothing and household items, for many years occupied a room inside the Hollywood Senior Center. However, that space was needed for the offices of additional case managers who help clients, ages 55 and older, find the services and assistance they need, said center coordinator Vivian Foster.
When the thrift store moved in with the gift shop earlier this year, it brought additional shelves that prompted a new arrangement for displaying hand-knit baby sweaters, lace-trimmed doll dresses, artfully designed pillows, seasonal hats and scarves and wooden toys resembling vintage vehicles.
“The shop has a new look,” said Jane Walgren, a retired teacher and shop volunteer who creates colorful horses, bunnies and other items sewn with small children and home decorators in mind.
“Not long ago, I had a lady come in in a scooter,” said Carol Stanfield, a retired Portland police officer who has been a shop volunteer for about six years. “She commented on how easy it is for her to move around. We’ve made it much more handicap accessible than it was before.”
Some of the volunteers also create the items for sale in the shop. Walgren is one of these, as is Pam Naugle, a former safety coordinator at a manufacturing plant, who knits doll layettes and baby clothes. Doris Heaton, a former bridal shop owner, creates dresses and gowns that fit American Girl and similar dolls.
Judith Sagalovsky, a former chemical engineer originally from Venezuela, became a volunteer about two years ago after moving to Portland from California to be near her daughter. Then, a student from her Spanish language class encouraged her to add her whimsical drawings to note cards, now on sale in the shop.
Stanfield is a shop volunteer who doesn’t create handiwork. Instead, other people’s quilts and doll clothes drew her to the Hollywood Senior Center. For nearly two decades, Stanfield has purchased 150 to 200 baby dolls each year and outfitted them for children assisted by Salvation Army Family Services and the West Women’s Shelter. Last winter, she added youngsters at the Ronald McDonald House, where families stay while children undergo medical treatment in Portland. Her 16-inch dolls, which she orders from a Florida company, don’t cry, talk or do anything mechanical, Stanfield said.
“They just need to be held and loved,” she said.
“I bought things here, and people were so welcoming and friendly,” said Stanfield, who lives in the Johns Landing area but crosses the river once a week to volunteer at the shop. “What keeps me here is the people,” she said. “I know almost everybody by first name.”
Heaton, a shop volunteer since 2004, has been sewing since age 10. She especially loves creating clothes for dolls because she didn’t have any growing up during the Great Depression. She raised four daughters, however, and made all their clothes while they were growing up.
Customers who come to the shop often are seeking baby shower gifts, Heaton said. In the winter, the knitted hats and scarves draw buyers, she said.
A couple shelves have used books, including those for children, and two display racks have earrings and other jewelry made by senior craftspeople.
“A lot of our vendors will do special orders,” Stanfield said. That includes children’s or baby clothing and doll beds or other furniture, especially popular before holidays, she said.
Virtually all the volunteers comment on the friendly contacts they make in the shop and in the center as a whole.
“It’s a friendly atmosphere and it has a variety of activities for seniors – a writing class, a painting class,” said Naugle, who is one of the Happy Hollywood Crafters who meet at 10 a.m. Thursdays to teach or learn new knitting or crocheting stitches.
“They have so many groups and support groups, and if you need anything, people can help you or direct you where to go,” Naugle said.