Kira Wennerstrom is a confirmed thrift store addict.
She started working for a local real estate sales company when she was just a teenager. In college, she made money by taking thrift store finds and selling them online.
In February, she opened a renovated building in downtown Bayfield and named it Bee Thrifty.
“I love helping my community,” said the Bayfield High School graduate. She enjoys hearing about the history of the old downtown building, which once housed the town’s tack shop.
She thought it was daunting to go to thrift stores and see items marked $50 or even $100, knowing that was out of reach for many store customers. By using a donation model for the store, she is able to keep prices low at her Bayfield store.
She also buys clothes in Phoenix to resell, and she continues to work at Earthly Treasures, the real estate sales company, as well as operating a space at the Durango Antiques Market.
She donates a percentage of her net sales each month to a local non-profit group, in addition to providing a coin jar for donations.
In March, she donated $650 to Pine River Shares, and April’s recipient was Hearing the Call, which provides hearing health care and hearing aids to Colorado residents.
Wennerstrom lost hearing in one of her ears due to an undiagnosed condition, and Hearing the Call provided her with a hearing aid, so she figured making the company one of the earliest recipients of his company’s philanthropy was a good way to reciprocate. . She donated $700 to the organization.
May’s recipient is the Be Frank Foundation, which provides music education opportunities for young people in La Plata County.
On Saturday, she organizes a sports equipment day so that locals can get good sports clothes at a reasonable price.
She said the quality of donations to her store had been somewhat surprising, with new items such as a 65-inch flat-screen TV dropped off at her house, which accepts donations on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
High-end outerwear is also often donated by the bag.
One thing Wennerstrom doesn’t like about the industry is so-called “fast fashion,” which is basically shoddy clothes that sell online for around $3. It rips and tears quickly, and she usually has to throw it away when given in this state.
However, this drawback is overcome by finding durable items that people enjoy at a reasonable price.
In addition to clothing, Bee Thrifty also offers tools, household items, linens, toys and vintage items, with the selection largely dependent on what has been donated over the past few weeks. Sometimes there are also half-price clothing sales.
Bee Thrifty is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. It is located at 24 E. Mill St. in downtown Bayfield.
The store can be reached at 508-1050.