Thrifty shopping at this local store can help others
Local resale shop and antique mall offers hope and low prices
Scoping out a bargain in this economy is a good thing.
But when you buy a bargain and it helps someone less fortunate, the deal is all the sweeter.
Chase Me Again is not your average thrift store, said Sue Myers, owner of the resale clothing store and its sister, Chase Me Home, on Northeast Second Street in Gresham. It is a place to donate your used items or to find used items at a low price, but it is much more than that. We are helping the community as well as local charities.
The thrift store is a bonanza for those seeking gently used clothing, shoes, books and household items. The bargain basement prices are only part of the appeal, however, when you consider that a percentage of all the stores sales are returned to My Fathers House, a shelter for homeless families. Chase Me Again is founded on the premise of bringing value back to disregarded items as well as placing value on individuals who have gotten lost or have been forgotten.
Myers is a Troutdale resident who co-owns Eagle Designs and Woodworking with her husband, Rick. She is a staunch believer in giving back to her community and over the years has developed relationships with several local charities that have been the recipients of her time and financial assistance.
But her soft spot for My Fathers House is what gave birth to Chase Me Again. The business uses her maiden name Chase to honor her parents, who taught her how to volunteer as a child in Idaho.
Myers was a board member and volunteer with My Fathers House when she helped establish a shopping mall for shelter residents. The small space was stocked with donated clothing and household essentials available to shelter families to aid them in moving on with their lives. Myers soon found, however, that limited space for the avalanche of donations coming in was hindering the way they served families.
The public was so generous, but there was so much we couldnt use, Myers said. We were sending a lot of things to Goodwill because we didnt have the room to keep everything. It was breaking my heart.
Myers wanted to utilize the donated items and formed a 501c(3) nonprofit business she called Chase Me Again. In June 2010, she opened her first thrift store, using the surplus donations from My Fathers House, in the basement of the historic former church on Main Avenue. She provided shelter families with vouchers to use as cash for their purchases and helped arrange transportation if necessary.
Staffed by Myers and a group of volunteers, Chase Me Again was open two days a week. Before long, she and her volunteers were serving shelter families and the general public five days a week.
It grew beyond any idea I had, Myers said, What I didnt see going in was that we were also helping the community with our low prices during this tough economy. People were telling me Thank you for your low prices all the time.
Bursting at the seams
By fall 2011, Myers found herself in a familiar situation the need for more floor space. She moved the thrift shop to the location on Northeast Second Street in October, and when donors began inquiring about home furnishings, she added Chase Me Home, a combination independent vendor antique mall and used furniture store.
We have 25 spaces in Chase Me Home, Myers said. Twelve are independent vendors who pay rent for the space, and 13 are reserved for the stores items. We accept consignment furniture, but I have limited space, so Im very picky about the consignment furniture I take. The seller also has to agree to my price because we want to sell the items.
Volunteers at Chase Me Again and Chase Me Home are what drive the business, Myers said. They clean, sort and price all the donations, organizing them in a manner that rivals the standards of a major retailer. Some volunteers have found their own niche in the stores, taking charge of the display, pricing and rotation of individual areas such as shoes, clothing or books.
I love the volunteers, Myers said. They will come up with an idea and act on it, instead of telling me what to do. I couldnt do this by myself and still help the community.
And nothing is discarded. In keeping with her mission to encourage the cycle of renewal and redemption, Myers perpetuates the donation loop by giving items her stores cant use to thrift stores at the Gresham Senior Center and Portland Adventist Hospital. The Salvation Army makes a weekly pickup at Chase Me Again as well.
What inspires Myers daily are the success stories shes witnessed. Knowing she has helped someone transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency, or simply make a new start, is validation that her mom and dad did know best when it came to helping others.
I had a woman who came here from California, Myers recalled. She came in to buy a suit for a job interview. She paid $11 for the suit. Two days later, she came back to say thank you. She got the job. Thats what makes coming to work so much fun.
If you go
Who: Chase Me Again/Chase Me Home
Where: 289 N.E. Second St., Gresham.
What: Resale mens, womens and childrens clothing; toys; household items; books; craft supplies; accessories; and a small bridal section. Chase Me Home features antiques and furniture.
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Donations are accepted any day during regular business hours. Appointments are required for larger donations, such as furniture or truckloads of items.
More info: Call 503-491-8010.