MCC the place to be, especially on a Tuesday morning
It's a Tuesday morning tradition for Violet Catcheway; waiting outside the Portage MCC Thrift Store before it opens at 10 a.m.
"I never miss this every Tuesday," Catcheway said. "I usually get here before it opens. Sometimes I get here at nine-thirty or nine o'clock and I stand around here and wait."
Catcheway's not alone in her quest to find the next great deal. Each Tuesday morning the mother of two is joined by a group of MCC "regulars" who gather outside the Saskatchewan Avenue thrift store before it opens. Some of the shoppers stand quietly, peeking into the front windows, while others chat with one another to pass the time. Some of the shoppers wait in their vehicles, joining the group a couple minutes to 10. They all have the same goal in mind, to cash in on some great deals on second hand merchandise.
At 10 a.m. MCC workers unlock the front doors, and regulars file in.
Just as she does every Tuesday morning, Catcheway heads straight for the women's clothing rack. She's on the hunt for some new clothes, and she says the selection of clothing at the MCC is "really good" because she's found name-brand fashions that fit her perfectly. In fact, she says, the shirt she is wearing on this Tuesday morning is one of her recent MCC finds.
"I would say that this is my best store," she said. "They really check their stuff before they sell it."
"We're closed Mondays, so they know there's new product being put out and they want to have the first opportunity to see what's new," explained MCC volunteer Grace Loeppeky.
Store manager Kevin Hamm said the store puts new items out throughout the week, but says that most of the new items are put in the shelves on Monday night.
"We've had days where it's just a massive crowd outside, both sides," he said, referring to the front and back entrances of the store.
"Some Tuesday's are constant. It usually is really big in the morning and then it may taper off around lunch time and then pick up again in the afternoon."
For customers like Catcheway, who comes into the store sometimes four times a day, the MCC offers everything she needs from affordable name-brand clothes to dishes and ornaments at prices she likes. She says she even travels to other MCC stores in Brandon and Winkler, when the opportunity arises. She says hunting for bargains at the MCC gives her something to do during the day, and it's something she thoroughly enjoys.
"This is what I wake up for on Tuesday mornings," she said, as she patiently waited for the clock to strike 10.
Catcheway says she checks in to the MCC at least a couple of times a week all year round. Hamm said the store sees its busiest months between June and December, with the October being especially lively.
"I'm not sure why October is so big, but it's always the big month," he said.
The MCC is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturdays. It is located at 149 Saskatchewan Ave. E. Aside from selling used merchandise, it also accepts donations of gently used clothing and other household items and holds weekly silent auctions of rare and neat collectables.
If you can't make it down to the MCC, you can still keep up with its daily deals and specials on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/portagemcc or on Twitter @portagemcc.