hospital thrift shop
Volunteers Making A Difference:
Thrift Shop Benefits Hospital since 1929
In 1929, a small group of dedicated women volunteers established the Thrifty Shop,
selling affordable, recycled clothing and household items to benefit the Nantucket
Cottage Hospital. In that first year, the Thrifty Shop proudly raised $603 for the hospital.
In 2012, with the help of over 100 volunteers, the Hospital Thrift Shop's donation was
$176,000, an all-time record for the charitable organization. Most of the contribution,
totaling $123,000, goes to the hospital's general operating fund. The Social Services
Department at the hospital received $31,000 for patient support services. Palliative and
Supportive Care of Nantucket received $21,000 earmarked for its Marla Ceely Lamb Fund,
which helps patients with travel off-island for treatment.
The Thrifty Shop was originally housed in a number of rented quarters throughout the
Town of Nantucket. Then in 1945, the business became incorporated as the Thrift Shop
under the laws of the Commonwealth and elected a Board of nine members. Shortly
after, the Thrift Shop purchased the Ayres house at 17 India Street for $7,500, securing
a $3,000 mortgage from Nantucket Institute for Savings. In 1946, the Town granted
the Thrift Shop its tax-free status as a charitable organization.
Over the years, the Thrift Shop has grown into a thriving business and remains a
significant source of income for the hospital. It has contributed many items through the
years, including the purchase of equipment in the Emergency Room, Operating Rooms,
Oncology Department and Nurse’s Station. Purchases made since 1929 include an
ambulance, an electrocardiograph machine, bassinets and more recently, an MRI, the
Voorhees Nursery, as well as significant contributions towards the hospital’s expanded
The only paid employees for the Thrift Shop, a seasonal business, are the manager and
the bookkeeper, and those positions were created relatively recently. All others involved
are volunteers. An independent charitable organization, the Hospital Thrift Shop’s
ongoing support is essential to Nantucket Cottage Hospital.
The Thrift Shop in the 1940s, in a house formerly at the corner of
Broad Street and Federal Street, now the site of the Town building.
Photo courtesy of the Nantucket Historical Association