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Granby: Thrift store settled into new location

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News
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The family that runs Second Hand Grand has a lot to celebrate. The end of November marks the fifth year the thrift store has been in business and the operation has a new, central location in Granby. The management feels they’ve been so blessed and are happy to have had the opportunity to give back to the community.

“That’s going to be part of our celebrating here,” said Mary Hemme. “We don’t just make a living here, we help people out. We also help delay filling up the landfill. What’s rewarding is we’re serving the community and helping our planet.”

Hemme came to Grand County on a vacation with “best friend in the world” Bruce Schafer, who was born and raised in Denver. She said he had always talked of wanting to come back home and, after the trip, she asked him why they didn’t make the move.

“I just fell in love with the state and the county,” she said. The two moved to the area in 2001 from San Diego, Calif.

Hemme and Schafer decided to open their own store after volunteering their time at Changes, another thrift store in the county.

“We noticed how much stuff went through there, and how much they sent to Denver,” Hemme said. “And I told Bruce we could open a thrift store too and it wouldn’t hurt them a bit.

“(Second hand stores have) always been a place I’ve loved to be,” Hemme said. “I think it’s in my blood.” Her family owned, operated and lived in one in Idaho, and when the family would relocate, as her dad said “to find the sunshine,” they’d always stop in a thrift store at the new town.

Hemme said she and Bruce got Changes manager Grace MacGregor’s blessing to open up their store and, soon after, the two opened Second Hand Grand at “the warehouse” in Tabernash.

“We just kind of put our ideas together all the way through,” she said. They operated the Tabernash location for almost five years. They started by buying truckloads of the things Changes would send off to Denver for $30.

The two, together with their six children (Bruce’s children: Nick, Mike, and Erin, and Mary’s children: Janey, Libby, and David) moved the store to its new location at the former Alpine Office Supply store on U.S. Highway 40 this past May.

“No one’s the boss here,” she said. “We all share this thing together and I think that’s what’s kept us doing it so long. I wouldn’t have done it without the rest of my family.”

Even Hemme’s 10-year-old granddaughter, Skyler, works at the store, donating a portion of every paycheck to the ASPCA.

“She’s a very caring child,” Hemme said of Skyler. And shop dogs, 11-year-old shepherd/ Shar Pei mix, T-Bone, and 3-year-old rat terrier, Spanky, help add to the family atmosphere of the place.

Hemme said they really lucked out because the store is now “closer to the hub of the county.” One thing she hated to leave behind was a landscape mural her son, David, painted back at the warehouse.

Bruce calls Second Hand Grand a “green” business.

“What we believe in is reusing before recycling,” Bruce said. In the nearly five years he and Hemme have maintained the store, they “have assisted the community in donating hundreds of dollars in credit in our shop to help others through the Mountain Family Center.” The center is a non-profit dear to Hemme’s heart, which she says is “a place where people go for a little bit of temporary help.”

Second Hand Grand also exchanges goods for store credit.

The store has everything from “soup to nuts,” including toys, books, games, clothes and shoes, appliances, furnishings, housewares, sporting goods, jewelry, music, collectibles and antiques. Her daughter, Janey, reminds customers, “Even though everything’s marked with a permanent marker, it doesn’t mean the price is permanent.”

Hemme looks forward to the surprises that come in the door and that everyone has “a lot of laughs here. I like to make people happy and this is such an easy place to do that.” The new store location may be a little bit smaller, but Hemme says they have plenty of space.

“It’s a whole new neighborhood,” she said. “Come on in and browse around or sit and visit awhile. This is the good life.”

Second Hand Grand celebrates its fifth yearthe end of November and is planning to put on a party with refreshments at the store, located at 150 E. Agate Ave. in Granby.

Otherwise, customers may find someone from the big-hearted families manning the store 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To reach them by phone, call (970) 887-9117.


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