The Key to Christmas is once again unlocking the potential beauty in secondhand, gently used items.
The Key on Central secondhand shop has been transformed. Instead of books or clothing, the front half of the store now holds ornaments, wreaths, Christmas trees, snowmen and figurines. All proceeds and donations go to the Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center of Fort Dodge.
Since the end of September, the store's volunteers have been putting in extra work to get the Christmas section ready.
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Volunteer Joan Tibbitts examines one of the redecorated wreaths next to a rack of snowmen at the Key on Central secondhand shop. The shop’s Christmas items are now available, thanks to Tibbitts and other volunteers. The volunteers took the wreaths apart, re-decorated and re-fluffed them.
"People donate things all year, and the first thing to do is sort through them and decide what we can use," said volunteer Joan Tibbitts.
"Then we also recycle things like the wreaths and Christmas trees," said Marti Doyle.
The wreaths sometimes come in old, shabby and dusty, the volunteers said, so they take the wreaths and trees apart, fluff them up and redecorate them, with help from some friends.
At a glance
What: The Key to Christmas
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday
Where: The Key on Central, 1030 Central Ave.
Donations should be taken in the side door on 11th Street.
"All the decorations we use for that are donated," Tibbitts said.
In fact, everything in the store is donated, said Brenda McBride, program development director of D/SAOC - though some of the things are brand new.
Doyle said, "It's a great place to do some Christmas shopping. You get a great price."
"When a lot of our things come in, they've never been used, but the price is probably a fourth of what you would pay in a regular store," said Tibbitts. "So we do have lots of nice things."
The store is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
All the Christmas things are displayed prominently in front of the store, though in previous years they were in a separate location. McBride said the new arrangement offers more room for items and convenience for shoppers.
"It's lighter and brighter; it's the first thing people see," Tibbitts said. "The decorations in the windows draw people in."
Even with the new space, the store has more items than they can display, she said.
"We still have a lot left in the basement. As things sell we'll have more to add."
D/SAOC provides free and confidential services of safety and support to adults and children who are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, including a shelter.
The Key on Central sells donated items and gives all profits to the center. D/SAOC clients can also come to the store to get things they need for free, McBride said.
Except for the store manager, all the workers are volunteers.
"We have close to 15 regular volunteers, and others who help out as needed," McBride said.
The store is still taking donations of all kinds - just no major appliances or electronics.