Bargains galore

Chris Johnson, center, and Seena Frankel, right, wait on customer Linda Cowperthwaite of Long Valley, NJ, who says, “I like shopping here because the staff is so helpful.”

People shop at The Friends of Matheny’s Second Chance Shop in Gladstone, NJ, mainly because of the bargains. But it also helps to have friendly, knowledgeable salespeople, all of whom are volunteers. Two of the veteran volunteers, Chris Johnson of Bedminster, NJ, and Seena Frankel of Bernardsville, NJ, had the “shift of the week” in late March. On a Thursday morning, they sold $518.75 worth of merchandise, including a big set of dishes, two bookcases and a painted saw.

When Frankel moved to Bernardsville from Brooklyn 10 years ago, she began volunteering at the shop. She loves that “the customers are all different, plus I love organizing things.” Johnson met Frankel at an art class at the Center for Contemporary Art in Pluckemin, NJ. “Seena introduced me to Matheny,” she recalls. They also discovered that they both had gone to Chatham High School.

The Second Chance Shop, which earned $88,000 last year, seems to be on a record pace this year after moving to a larger location in the Gladstone United Methodist Church. As of March 31, its total sales for the year were more than $90,000, about $23,000 ahead of the previous year. The Friends of Matheny, Matheny’s auxiliary group, has raised more than $3 million since its inception in 1983.