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My association with the Associates

It was only a few days after moving here when I noticed the sign “Re-Runs Consignment and Thrift Shop” by the side door of the distinguished old building on State Street — the Lakewood Center for the Arts. Having just closed an antique business in Iowa before our move to Lake Oswego, I was still attracted to signs like this.

Though I no longer needed replenishments for my antique inventory, I knew we’d moved an excess of furnishings, and consigning them was a possibility. So I stopped in, probably bought something and got information on consignments. Thus began my association with the Associates.

On my frequent visits to Re-Runs as a customer and consignor, I learned more about the Lakewood Center Associates. This volunteer organization was formed in 1984 to help retire the debt on the purchase of the former Lakewood Grade School, the current home of the arts center. Their vision was to open a small thrift shop as a means of raising funds and Re-Runs became a reality in 1985. By the time I found the shop in 1992, it had expanded in size and consigned items were now accepted as well as donations.

I found the ladies of the shop to be a congenial group and made inquiries about becoming a member and working in the shop. It was good timing on my part as the monthly luncheon/meeting/program was the next week and I was graciously invited and warmly welcomed. Before the day was over I had become a member of the LCA, was given a training session in the shop and scheduled for a monthly workday.

My increasing involvement revealed more knowledge of the organization. All profits from the Re-Runs Shop and other fundraising events were used for center renovations, education programs, scholarships, production sponsorships and maintenance to the building and grounds. Since the inception of the LCA, more than $1 million had been raised for the Lakewood Center.

Soon after joining, I was asked to be a member of the consignment team, another once-a-month commitment, to help receive, evaluate and display items coming in for consignment. A year or so later I was talked into being a co-manager of the shop and it was fun to be back in a form of the business I had enjoyed with my own shop. I had already agreed to be manager of the shop in the coming year when my husband’s death caused me to reconsider. While not honoring this commitment would have been understood, I decided it was something I should do. It proved a good decision as the almost-daily duties at the shop provided a purpose needed at this time in my life. And the support and friendship of the Associates was an appreciated blessing.

In the following years I was LCA’s secretary, edited the monthly newsletter for six years, organized a pricing team for donations, compiled a booklet of shop procedures, and helped with fundraising events. I also witnessed many changes — the acceptance of credit cards, computerizing the consignment procedure, making improvements to the shop to increase display space, better training for shop volunteers and a steady increase in membership.

All of us who work at the shop are continually amazed at the quantity and quality of items consigned and donated and we are, of course, our own best customers. It’s rare to work a shift and not come home with some unique purchase. I’m sure at least one-third of my home furnishings and décor are Re-Runs’ purchases. The combined talents and specialties of the volunteers make the shop run efficiently and keep the ever-changing inventory nicely displayed.

While not as actively involved as I was, I still enjoy working in the shop and helping with consignments. I look forward to the monthly meetings/luncheons/programs and connecting with long-time friends as well as meeting new members. My association with the Associates has been a rewarding experience — thanks to that enticing sign that led me to Re-Runs.

Re-Runs is located at 368 S. State St. in Lake Oswego and is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. on Thursdays of play performances.

Jo Ann Parsons also is a member

of the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.




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