It’s autumn and time for the thrift shop in Haines Junction to ramp up again for winter. Dozens and dozens of bags of used clothing and housewares have been dropped off in the last month at the back door of St. Christopher’s Church.

Local women were sorting and organizing for weeks in preparation for the thrift’s opening day, Oct. 13, which went really well — lots of items sold, and there were lots of happy customers.

The thrift shop was originally set up in early 1980s in the basement of the church rectory. Then, clothes came in bales, sent from church women in Vancouver. Bales contained beautiful hand-knitted baby clothes, sweaters and quilts.

The shop migrated to the back of the original church building where the leaky woodstove provided minimal heat; it was so cold that people wore mittens as they sorted clothes.

When the new church was built, the thrift shop moved to the basement. More and more local clothing started to be donated. Women of the congregation continued to sort and run the thrift shop. As the church was doing well, the proceeds were directed to the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund for many years as outreach.

The thrift shop is a mainstay for locals, workers from Squirrel Camp and Burwash Landing up the North Highway, as well as tourists and members of other Yukon communities.

Probably the most interesting story happened a few years back when there was a beautiful wedding dress in stock. A young woman from another Yukon community visited a couple of months prior to her wedding. She’d had no luck finding a dress until she spotted this dress and tried it on. It fit and looked amazing! Not only did she buy the wedding dress, but her mother found her wedding outfit at the thrift, as well.

As it’s close to Hallowe’en, there will be some customers who are looking for additions for their costumes as well as those looking for great fall bargains. There’s something for everyone from babies to adults, including footwear, and some housewares.

The thrift shop will run the second and last Thursday each month until the big “dollar-a-bag” final clear out in June. Donations are accepted all winter long.