Ask NOW: History of St. Mary's Thrift Shop intrigues reader

July 11, 2012

Is there a rumor you've heard you would like to track down? Is there something in the community that needs to get fixed? Mary Malahy answers some of the mysteries of life in the Elmbrook area.

History of St. Mary's Thrift Shop intrigues reader

Issue: A reader wants to know the history of St. Mary's Thrift Shop in Elm Grove. She is curious to know how the store came about, who runs the store and how much revenue it brings in a year.

Status: I spoke with Penny Kannall, manager of St. Mary's Thrift Shop, and she said that no one seems to know for sure how the store started but she believes it began in the St. Mary's Visitation Parish School basement as a clothing exchange between families.

She explained that because the families usually had many children, they would exchange clothing to save money. Over time the families began selling the clothes instead of trading them. The shop moved from the school basement to the church across the street and then to the current location, 13150 Juneau Blvd., about 10 years ago.

The store brings in about $150,000 a year, and the vast majority of it goes to the school in order to keep tuition down, Kannall said. She said she is the store's only full-time paid employee. A few part-time employees and several volunteers work at the store as well. The store is open Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Brookfield NOW .com

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