VVS’s Twice Nice Thriftiques

When Sedona’s Twice Nice Thriftique store was voted best bargain store of 2022 by Sedona Red Rock News readers, they were also delivering a vote of confidence in a uniquely capable local institution.

Twice Nice, together with its sister locations in Cottonwood and Camp Verde, is run by the Verde Valley Sanctuary, a nonprofit organization supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence that operates the Verde Valley’s only domestic violence shelter. Profits from the stores, known as “Thriftiques,” fund the Sanctuary’s programs. The stores enable local goods to recirculate, cutting down on waste, while also giving shoppers a chance to help those in need.

“Sedona’s Thriftique was the first to open, in 1997, and quickly became the “gold standard” for nonprofit thrift stores,” said VVS Community Enterprise Director, Barry Maketansky. “We have hosted representatives from other nonprofits to learn Twice Nice’s methods.” A Cottonwood location followed in 2008, and a Camp Verde location opened in the spring of 2021.

“The stores generate unrestricted funding for the organization,” Maketansky said, “which is useful for items like transportation expenses and medical costs not covered by existing grants.” In fiscal year 2021-22, the three stores raised $850,000 and the net profit supports the Sanctuary. Both the Sedona and Cottonwood stores have long since outgrown their original locations, and the Camp Verde store is expected to double in size from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet in the near future.

Maketansky noted that about 60% of the Thriftiques’ sales come from women’s clothing. While the stores offer men’s departments, those are much smaller.

The Sedona location processes about 10,000 donated items per month. These range from clothes and shoes to antique furniture such as Scottish writing desk or a bentwood coat rack by a famous artisan.

But the Thriftiques don’t just raise funds for the Sanctuary, they also serve as a resource base for survivors. Community Development Director, Tracey McConnell, pointed out that survivors can shop for free at the three stores, enabling them to obtain clothing for job interviews, household goods and furniture that they could not otherwise afford. “Everything is free to survivors of domestic and sexual violence,” she said. “We’re here to empower them!”

Maketansky stressed that volunteers are vital to the Thriftiques’ operations. “Without a volunteer community I could not afford the payroll,” he said. Twice Nice benefits from more than 60 volunteers across its three locations, some of whom are in their 80s. Only about 10 of the stores’ volunteers are under the age of 65. Most of them are women “who want to do something to end domestic violence,” Maketansky said, adding that since there are no openings for volunteers at the shelter itself, volunteering at the thriftiques offers them a way to contribute to the cause.

“I waited 10 years to work here,” said volunteer Doreen Slevin, who runs the book section at the Sedona location. “They’re very nice to work for. It’s a good cause.”

The Thriftique model has been embraced by the local community “in a way that astounds me,” Maketansky said. Some locals have been donating to the stores continuously for over 20 years, and donations actually increased during the COVID-19 pandemic in spite of lockdowns and other restrictions. He described Twice Nice’s philosophy as being to “recycle with style.”

Revised article from Fall 2002 Lifestyles of Sedona written by Tim Perry, Sedona Red Rock News

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