DELAND, Fla. – Nestled along the busy stretch of Woodland Blvd. in DeLand, you will find the AdventHealth Elite Repeat Thrift Store, where foot and road traffic is plenty.
“It’s much busier than before. And what’s amazing is that a lot of our customers are not from DeLand. We have customers from Brevard County, Lake County and even South Florida,” said Tanna Gartside, a longtime volunteer at the Elite Repeat Thrift Store.
Displayed outside the entrance is a sign that reads “60 years of service.”
The six decades of service to the city of DeLand and raising up to $50,000 annually for the AdventHealth DeLand's charity care is what earned Elite Repeat the title of CommUNITY Champion by WESH 2 News.
“Their recognition as a significant community force is amazing," said AdventHealth DeLand CEO Eric Lunde.
The idea of a thrift store providing low-cost clothing and home goods came together in September 1963 when the West Volusia Memorial Hospital (now AdventHealth DeLand) was trying to raise additional money. The store moved to several different sites across DeLand before settling at its current location.
“Back then, we were ecstatic when we made $300 in a week. Now with the donations coming in and the growth we’ve seen, we try to raise $3,500 a week,” Gartside said. These funds are then used to support the hospital.
Gartside’s daughter, Tammi Stossel, is the current manager of the store and works on site every day.
“Every day I go home exhausted yet filled with warmth in my heart because I know I've helped people throughout the day,” she said to WESH anchor Jason Guy.
Stossel is not alone with her desire to serve the community. Many volunteers who keep the store up and running have remained throughout the years.
“You have to have fun with what you’re doing, and when you can feel good about what you’re doing…you can’t beat it. That’s what keeps me coming back,” volunteer Nancy Innes said.
Watch the full WESH 2 News story here.
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