The Coast News Group
Community Resource Center
Patty Menez, staffer at the CRC’s San Marcos resale store, organizes clothing racks. Courtesy photo
Marketplace News

Community Resource Center’s Resale Stores help save lives, money and the environment

Where can you help save lives, find new treasures daily, have a blast shopping with friends and help the environment? Welcome to Community Resource Center’s Resale Stores (CRC Resale Stores).

Established in Encinitas in 1979, CRC operates three stores, in Encinitas, Carlsbad and San Marcos. The stores support CRC’s programs, from a food pantry to domestic violence shelter to housing assistance to professional counseling and much more.

“When people purchase or donate, they’re supporting lifesaving programs that provide healthy food, stable homes and safe relationships to our neighbors in need,” said Debbie Murray, CRC’s Chief Philanthropy Officer.

While they’re budget-friendly, much of the inventory comes from private homes and estate sales and includes vintage and antique items as well as designer clothing and accessories—often with tags still attached. The stores are a wonderful resource for decorating on a budget or renewing a wardrobe (and there’s no sales tax at CRC Resale Stores).

“The community supports us with amazing donations,” said Murray. “There’s something for everyone, from home and garden to jewelry, with new items arriving daily.”

From an organizational perspective, Murray also sees CRC Resale Stores as ambassadors for CRC programs. Shoppers learn about CRC in the stores and can then share its resources with neighbors in need.

“It’s amazing our little brick-and-mortar Resale Stores accomplish so much locally,” said Murray.

One way CRC serves the community is by placing individuals and families in safe housing. Case managers also give lists of needed donation items to store managers who then set aside those items for the clients, gathering them in time for scheduled move-in dates.

“That way,” said Murray, “the clients aren’t moving into an apartment, they’re moving into a home.”

CRC gives store vouchers to clients, too, such as those fleeing domestic violence, so they can obtain clothing and secure what they need to create a safe and comfortable living space.

“When case managers tell me how it feels placing people into homes, it brings the numbers to life. Those are actual individuals and families we helped,” said Murray.

Thrifting is also environmentally friendly. In 2019, the three CRC Resale Stores received over 31,000 donation drop-offs—an estimated diversion of 372,000 cubic feet of material that would have become landfill waste.

Then there’s the fact that thrifting is just fun. Other stores have endless racks of the same items but every rack in CRC Resale Stores is different. It’s like hunting for treasure—especially fun when competing with friends to find the coolest stuff.

But remember that thrifting rewards the quick. Resale Store staff remind shoppers, “If you see it and you like it, you better buy it.” That’s because there’s no backstock, no “different size or color” in a warehouse. The items are all unique and they move fast.

While CRC operates the stores and programs, it can’t take all the credit for its impact in the community, according to Murray.

“The community makes the impact because we’re doing this together. If we didn’t have the community’s support our work would be much more difficult.”

The next time you go shopping, visit a CRC Resale Store.

“People think of stores like Target first,” said Murray, “but our stores provide much of the same inventory at similar prices—plus the added value of helping the environment and supporting neighbors who need your help today.”

For information on store locations, hours and donation drop-offs, please visit Follow the stores on Facebook and Instagram @shopcrc for the latest updates.

(For CRC’s help with housing assistance, food, benefits applications and more, call (760) 753-8300 or email [email protected]. Advocates can also be reached at CRC’s toll-free 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline: (877) 633-1112.)