October 14, 2010

Banking on a Thrifty World

Heather Philipp believes her thrift store, Hunted Treasures,
 is just what people need right now.
Heather Philipp pops an 8-track into the Morse console which is for
sale at the thrift store she just launched, Hunted Treasures.
Union Leader Correspondent

all it what you will — a curiosity shop, a thrift store — for Heather Philipp it’s a dream come true.
“I took it over in September. I basically opened it with a dream and a couple of things I brought from home — and no money in my pocket,” said Philipp, who is the proud and unexpected owner of her own business, Hunted Treasures, in Londonderry.“It’s kind of like an indoor yard sale — clothes are 50 cents, everything’s reasonable; everything’s negotiable,” said Philipp, who is still settling into the space she now calls her own, which sits next to the Route 28 Roadhouse Diner.
Philipp stumbled into the business quite literally, taking a job part time at the thrift store to help make ends meet after a period
 of unemployment and some bad luck. Before that, she worked at a Dunkin’ Donuts.
“The previous owner just got tired of it, got tired of the location. I wanted to give it a try, so I officially opened it up on my own Sept. 10,” said Philipp.
There’s nothing extraordinary about the contents of the store — gently used clothing, plenty of household items, toys and knickknacks. A fondue set for five dollars. An old console record player with an 8-track tape player. 
“It still works — well the turntable doesn’t turn, but you can still play tapes,” said Philipp. 
Someone brought in a box full of Avon decanters, some of them are 30 or 40 years old. 
“They’re beautiful — some of them were never even opened, but they’re all interesting,” said Philipp, pointing to a Bicentennial Betsy Ross decanter filled with Sonnet cologne. 
She also features a few new items — for right now, it’s locally bottled honey and pumpkins. 
“I’m pretty sure I’m the only thrift store where you can also get a pumpkin,” says Philipp, reorganizing the tiny perfume bottles on display. 
She figures times are tough for everyone, and a thrift store is just the place to find what you need — or maybe just something that makes you smile — all without breaking the bank. 
“It helps everyone in the long run, to shop at a thrift store,” Philipp said. “There’s so much that people just throw away. A lot of the things in here were donated — our shelves, for example, used to be cubbies in a preschool. They were remodeling and were just going to throw them away, but look — they make great shelves.” 
Philipp says business is pretty good — best on the weekends, when bargain hunters find their way to the shop, which is set back from Route 28 along a mostly woodsy stretch of highway. 
“I wanted to put the name up on the sign — it’s kind of hard to see, but I was told that if we do anything to the sign at all, the town will make us move it back farther from the road, so I think I’ll just leave it the way it is for now,” Philipp said. 
She is using Facebook and Google Maps to help promote the store. 
“I talk it up everywhere I go,” said Philipp. “I have until January to prove myself — my landlord is giving me a chance to make it work. All I have to do is make the rent, the electric and the gas — anything else is profit.” 
After only a month, she has yet to see a profit. But she’s running on adrenaline and enthusiasm, and is keeping it positive. She doesn’t have a plan B, if things don’t work out. “It’s not something I think about — I don’t want to go there,” Philipp said. 
She has made an office for herself in the corner of the store. Between customers she works on counted cross-stitch and catches up on her reading. 
“I have it set up with a kid play area in the back, so I can keep an eye on kids while their moms shop,” said Philipp. She has also taped a motivational sign to the top of her desk, which reads, “We will succeed! 
“It’s been a wild roller coaster ride, but I love it. 
There’s nothing about it that’s too hard — I have some good people helping me,” Philipp said. “Most people never get a shot at something like this, but here I am. I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.” 

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