By Charlotte Aguilar
Citing declining sales, Bellaire’s venerable bargain hunter’s paradise — the Sunshine Resale Shop — will be closing in September, when its current lease runs out.
The shop has been operated by the charitable Christian Community Service Center in the Bellaire Triangle for 21 years, most recently at 5413 Bellaire Blvd., offering everything from vintage items such as Tupperware and jewelry to framed art, designer clothing and accessories, and high-end furniture.
Proceeds not only promote reuse and offer low-cost, high quality goods to customers — but help fund the social services of the CCSC, a consortium of 42 churches including, in and near Bellaire and West University Place, Bellaire United Methodist, ChristChurch Presbyterian, Faith Lutheran, Holy Ghost, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, St. Luke’s United Methodist, St. Mark’s Episcopal, St. Vincent de Paul, West University Baptist, and West University United Methodist churches.
Programs help clients with food, clothing, utilities, job training, health screenings and vision care and more, and offer special events such as a back-to-school supplies giveaway and a holiday “Jingle Bell Express.”
But the current edition of CCSC’s quarterly publication, Connections, shows that the donated items resold at Sunshine in 2018 only netted $7,779 or 10 percent of the organization’s funding.
A written Q&A about the closing that was distributed to staff and volunteers by the CCSC board on Thursday (Feb. 21) said that the board had considered what to do about Sunshine for two years, but that sales had “been on a steady decline now for several years and can no longer cover the costs of running the shop.”
The shop has just one-and-a-half paid positions and relies on volunteers — from students to retired seniors — for most of its six-day-a week staffing to process donations, stock the store, and provide sales assistance. Without providing details, the board message said its goal was “to be fair to both employees.”
The statement said the landlord had been generous in charging CCSC under-market rent in the now-sought-after Triangle Center, and that other locations had been considered but rejected.
“If the decision to keep the shop open was based solely upon the intangible values the shop provides, we would have surveyed volunteers and shop customers,” the statement read. “We understand how much this shop has come to mean to many of you and how disappointing it must be to hear this news.”