Giving and Receiving: Forever Unfinished Business
A customer walks in the front door and is immediately met with a hearty how-do-you-do from the helpful host or perhaps a seasoned volunteer sorting goods or ringing up sales. Then they spy the shorts yearning for a springtime walk on the beach, or a beautiful blue-print dress beckoning a young woman to dance the night away, aisles of gently used clothes, and books for a summer’s read. All items looking for a new owner; all items with…unfinished business.
Hence the name of this lovely Rehoboth thrift store, Unfinished Business: A community thrift shop, located behind Panera Bread on Route One. But the real business of this community store goes much deeper than selling items donated by families and organizations.
According to the shop’s owners, the unfinished business of the 21st century is ensuring equality for all regardless of race, gender, education, or sexual orientation. Their fundamental belief is that unless all community members have equal opportunities and an equal playing field, none in that community will prosper or grow. This, too, is unfinished business.
Finally, they see as unfinished business the 21st century’s effort to rescue this planet from the tragic consequences of environmental neglect and abuse. A thrift shop establishes new uses and new owners for objects that are casually discarded or unwanted. What better way of recycling?
Unfinished Business is the brainchild of local community activist Lynne Maloy. She has worked in government and the non-profit world for over 30 years, perfecting her managerial skills, her supervisory experience, and her financial acumen. She has created non-profits, managed them, and operated her own non-profit consulting business.
Lynne started the store in June, 2013, with husband Patrick and daughter Allie. A family business, Allie is now CEO, and Lynne and Patrick help out as needed. A graduate of Delaware Technical Community College where she studied Entrepreneurship, Allie says the store thrives with its sense of community. She says she grew up in a tight knit family, where they shared the love, and the store is very much like that.
Unfinished Business donates an extraordinary 85 percent of its profits to local non-profit organizations in Sussex County that help benefit the local/global community. CAMP Rehoboth is one of the beneficiaries. This makes the business a catalyst for positive change in the social backdrop of the county, while providing services to all members of the community. It filters much needed operating funds to organizations struggling to meet the needs of our community.
People love this thrift store, which operates much like a boutique with its high-end donations. Unsolicited comments overheard during several visits include “we love this place!” “thoughtfully set up,” and “easy to navigate.” One customer even noted that the store was “deliberately decorated,” a nice touch above and beyond many stores of its type.
Unfinished Business has a long and gratifying relationship with CAMP Rehoboth. The thrift store profits are donated to pre-determined organizations called associates and in return, these associates reach out to their membership for volunteers and donations. CAMP Rehoboth was Unfinished Business’s first associate. Thanks in large part to the efforts of CAMP Rehoboth coordinator Kathy Wiz, and the late Steve Elkins, 50 percent of Unfinished Business’s donations come from CAMP Rehoboth members. It is a relationship that closely mirrors the missions of these two partners.
Using the concept of reduce, reuse, and recycle, and merging it with community activism, Unfinished Business creates a winning combination for local non-profits looking for operating funds; local shoppers looking for a way to beat the high cost of living; and concerned citizens looking for environmentally sensitive ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Unfinished Business accepts new, gently used, or vintage donations of almost all kinds. Before bringing donations to the store, please consult their website at ubthrifting.org for types of donations accepted, condition requirements, ways to donate, and other useful information. The website also lists their hours of operation.
Drop in, say hi, and walk through the aisles. Remember, each dress, each book, each vintage trinket, can be your contribution toward wrapping up that unfinished business. ▼