Information and FAQs
About the PTA Thrift Shop
PTA Thrift Shop - Carrboro Store
125 W. Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510
Ph: (919) 967-1272 (retail store)
Ph: (919) 960-7413 (donations center) (located in the rear of the building, around the back)
Hours of Operation (Sales and Donations): Monday – Saturday 9:00am-6:00pm, Sundays 1:00pm-6:00pm
PTA Thrift Shop - Chapel Hill Store
103 S. Elliott Rd. (next to Whole Foods in the Village Plaza)
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Ph: (919) 942-6101 (retail store)
Ph: (919) 942-9412 (donations center) (located in the rear of the building, around the back)
Hours of Operation (Sales and Donations): Monday – Saturday 9:00am-6:00pm, Sundays 1:00pm-6:00pm
PTA Thrift Shop Executive Office
125 W. Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510
Ph: (919) 942-6565
Fax: (919) 942-7613
Our board is made up of people from our community, including parents and business professionals. We also have one representative of the local PTAs and a school principal as ex-officio members. Meet our current board members.
As we've grown, our board membership evolved from a group of 60 PTA members who managed the stores and raised and distributed funds to our current structure. In May of 2014, the PTA Thrift Shop membership held an electronic ballot vote to remove the ‘membership’ requirement. All PTAs were included in the vote. Eleven schools voted unanimously in favor of removing the 'membership' requirement from the bylaws, meeting the threshold as required by the bylaws, and the motion carried. Review the minutes, resolution, bylaws and official record for more details on how the new structure was formed.
Experienced managers and staff members run each store. The PTA Thrift Shop organization is led by a team of professionals, including an executive director and directors of operations, community relations, and facilities and procurement. Meet our staff.
Early on, the organization relied solely on volunteers. Parents and school children oversaw taking in donations, stocking and running the store. As the organization and demand grew, we realized we needed more professional staff. In the late 90s, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School was enlisted to formulate a strategic plan to help us become a more sustainable organization and strengthen our ability to fund school programs. The project team recommended that we pare down our mostly volunteer-led working board and transition it to a policymaking board with no more than 18 members. The team also recommended that our day-to-day operations be overseen by an executive director and paid staff, with PTA volunteers as a supplement to the operations and as ambassadors for the organization.
In 2000, we hired our first executive director and added all-paid staff to run the organization and our stores. In 2014, the board voted to become a streamlined policymaking board. Today, volunteers make up our board and serve as ambassadors.
Ambassadors are volunteers from the community or selected by each school’s PTA to educate people on the history and value of the PTA Thrift Shop, encourage people to shop with and donate to us, and ensure effective communication between the PTA and the PTA Thrift Shop staff. If you'd like to learn more about becoming a PTA Thrift Shop Ambassador, or want to know who to contact regarding this at your child’s school, reach out to Pat Richardson, our Director of Community Relations, any time at [email protected] or (919) 942-6565.
We have two ways of supporting PTA activities:
- Unrestricted Funds: Unrestricted funds come from 93% of our net profits. They are distributed to schools using this formula: 60% enrollment + 40% Title 1 percentage.
- Project Impact Grants: Through this competitive grant program started in 2015, PTAs submit applications for grants to support specific enrichment opportunities, classroom supplies, arts/science equipment and supplies, and basic needs. Learn more about the program and review previous grants.
The amount donated annually varies depending on market conditions and operating needs. For instance, our donations declined during the Great Recession, which had an impact on how much money we donated the schools. Donations also declined when we rebuilt our flagship shop and headquarters, and when we developed the YouthWorx on Main building. These short-term sacrifices enabled us to build the infrastructure necessary to be a sustainable funding organization for many years to come, and allowed us to us to continue paying our experienced staff during these periods.
Yes! We donate 10% of our annual net sales (calculated monthly) in the form of merchandise to assist families in need. That amounts to roughly $200,000 each year. This support helps families achieve greater stability and enables them to put their income to use in other ways. We also offer general in-kind support to PTAs and schools whenever a need is identified.
We spend 38.4% of our income on personnel. For-profit retailers look for a percentage around 30%.
We’re committed to paying our full-time hourly employees at or above the North Carolina living wage $10.96/hour both from a corporate social responsibility standpoint and as a sound business practice. That comes out to about $21,900 per year, which is in line with the average annual wage (from $21,000 to $24,000) for retail associates and cashiers in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area ranges, according to Salary.com. We also provide health insurance for our full-time employees, which increases total compensation. See how the North Carolina Living Wage is calculated.
Our decision to pay above minimum wage enables us to reduce staff turnover, one of the biggest business challenges in the retail sector. According to a 2016 industry survey by the Hay Group, of all retail positions, hourly store employees had the highest turnover rate (65%). The Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM's) Human Capital Benchmarking Report estimates the average cost-per-hire at $4,129 and the average time it takes to fill a given position at 42 days.
Creating stability at the associate level means better donor and customer service, and reduced costs related to lower productivity and the cost of replacing staff. Several academic research studies show additional operational and cost benefits to paying a living wage, such as higher employee productivity from high motivation, perceptions of fairness and improved health (Bewley 1999; Mas 2006; Akerlof 2012; Mani, et al 2013; Shah et al, 2012) and lower absenteeism (Allen 1983; Mefford 1986; Pfeifer 2010; Zhang 2013). Read the Obama Administration's 2016 Report on raising the minimum wage.
We are the developer and landlord of the YouthWorx on Main building. The youth-focused nonprofits based there are our tenants, and the rent they pay contributes to our operating income. Learn more about YouthWorx on Main.
The ability to buy, sell, lease and develop property has been in the by-laws since the late 1970s. At that time, the organization purchased the old grocery story building it had been renting, enabling it to improve strategic and financial planning, control costs and reduce risk.
The decision to build a new flagship store and office space, and to develop YouthWorx on Main, were made to ensure financial stability and long-term growth. When the board made the decision to create the new buildings, they knew it would impact revenues for a few years and felt the short-term sacrifice was worth it for long-term stability. They informed PTA leaders of the projected shortfalls. The board appreciated the near-term financial impact the decision would have on PTAs, and made the decision cautiously but in the interest of becoming an organization that could continue to provide PTA funding over the long haul.
The YouthWorx on Main property helps us financially in 3 ways:
- The YouthWorx on Main building is a valuable asset that produces consistent revenue in the form of rents, which are counted as part of the total revenue from which we make donations to PTAs. Investment in real estate does require a large upfront cash outlay that requires short-term sacrifices for stakeholders and beneficiaries, but over the long haul, the property ownership generates income. The office space we’ve created at YouthWorx on Main meets an unmet market need that many commercial developers have no interest (near- or long-term) in building, so we expect demand for this use to stay strong. That means occupancy will stay high and revenues will continue to contribute to the overall amount we donate to PTAs.
- Owning property like YouthWorx on Main and our flagship store means we can avoid paying market-rate rents for the retail and headquarters space we need/might need. Those higher rents would deplete the amount we have available to donate. <.li>
- Finally, in tight real estate markets like ours, our property assets are likely to increase in value each year, giving us additional borrowing power when we need it. That means we don’t have to drain our revenues to meet large capital needs, which would reduce how much we could donate to PTAs.
We're lucky! Our community has more generosity than we have square footage, even with two stores! Instead of paying for storage units dotted around town, we took advantage of a warehouse space available just west of town. This enabled us to organize and safely store excess inventory and reduces the leasing and servicing multiple units. With one central warehouse, we more efficiently track inventory and manage costs.
The PTA Thrift Shop, Inc., is an independent 501©3 non-profit whose activities include distributing annual net proceeds to the Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) of the public schools located in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. We are a funding partner to the PTAs and the schools they represent. We are not affiliated with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools or Orange County Schools or the school boards. We do rent space to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School district at our headquarters.
We're not! Our neighbors to the south are a completely separate entity focused on supporting the public schools of Chatham County. The primarily volunteer-led Chatham PTA Thrift Stores doesn't factor need into its giving formula, donating 40% of profits evenly across 18 schools and 60% based on volunteer hours. Review the Chatham County PTA Thrift Shop fact sheet.
Our leadership team compensation is in line with median salaries for nonprofits within North Carolina, according to data from the N.C. Center for Nonprofits.
As a nonprofit organization with revenues in excess of $25,000, we are required to file a Form 990 (the income tax return for nonprofits) on the 15th day of the fifth month after fiscal year-end. Since our fiscal year ends in June, we file our 990 on November 15th, as prescribed by the IRS. Note: Form 990 is reported on a cash method, yet most nonprofits (the PTA Thrift Shop included) use the accrual method. Learn more about each accounting model.
Every school's goal is to maximize the amount of money its PTA receives from the PTA Thrift Shop. There are 3 ways to further this goal and to raise money for your school:
- SHOP at the PTA Thrift Shops. The best way for the PTA Thrift Shop to increase our profits is to increase our revenue. To make more money, we must broaden our customer base and bring more paying customers in the door. You can all help by shopping with us and by promoting the PTA Thrift Shop to other parents, friends and neighbors. Store hours are 9:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Saturday, and 1:00pm-6:00pm on Sundays as well.
- DONATE high quality goods to the PTA Thrift Shops. The PTA Thrift Shop makes money by selling donated goods, including computers, furniture, books, house wares, sports equipment, appliances, electronic equipment and lots of other stuff in addition to clothing. Of course the "good stuff" brings in the most money! In the words of one of our long time PTA Thrift Shop Ambassadors, "Be a hero - donate your "good stuff" to the Thrift Shop!!”
- EDUCATE and ADVOCATE about the history and purpose of the thrift shop. Although we've been in the community for over 60 years, there are still many people who are unaware of all of the positive benefits that we bring to the community. Beyond that, there are many more who have never even shopped with us! In addition to the support we provide school PTAs, we also support school social workers in their efforts to provide for families in need. We also donate more than $100,000 annually in in-kind donations through our partnership with Inter-Faith Council and our basic needs program.
If you'd like to become a PTA Thrift Shop Ambassador for your school, please contact your local PTA President for more information on how to do so.
For more information about anything you've read here, please call PTA Thrift Shop Director of Communications and Community Relations Pat Richardson at 942-6565 or email her at [email protected].
If you have specific questions about the PTA Thrift Shop, or you would just like a tour please contact Executive Director Barbara Jessie-Black at 942-6565 or email her at [email protected].
We look forward to many more great years with your support!!!
Remember….SHOP... SAVE… SUPPORT!!!
You can donate goods at either our Chapel Hill or Carrboro locations from Monday through Saturday, 8:30am-6:00pm.
We are happy to pick up large items. Please call 919-417-0553 to arrange for your items to be picked up. If your call is not answered immediately, please leave a message and we will return your call within 24 hours.
Please do not bring items which are broken, soiled, or otherwise unsellable.
If an item is not worth your time or money to fix or repair, it is unlikely we will be able to sell it. These items should not be brought to us. Items that cannot be sold in the stores include:
- Mattresses, including crib mattresses, sofa-beds, or futons.
- Food, cosmetics, toiletries. (Accepted by the Inter-Faith Council)
- Pesticides and other poisons, or containers of any sort of chemical or liquid. (Dispose of 1st Saturday at Landfill)
- Life jackets or other flotation devices, including air mattresses and inflatable boats.
- Any item that is decorated with the brand name of an alcoholic beverage, tobacco product or promotes violence.
- Weapons (real or toy), such as guns, bows and arrows, slingshots.
- Obscene items, as well as items which most people would consider offensive due to sexual content or foul language.
- Baby items which do not meet current safety codes.
- Items recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, including halogen lamps and some children's car seats.
We are happy to accept all items which are in sellable condition, but below are a few of our items which are always in high demand: Furniture, household items, electronics/computers, collectibles, books, clothing, shoes, and accessories (children’s, men’s, women’s,) jewelry.
Unfortunately, we no longer take toys. However, if you have new or gently used stuffed animals you would like to donate please contact the local NC Chapter of SAFE (Stuffed Animals For Emergencies, Inc.) here: http://www.stuffedanimalsforemergencies.org/Chapters.html
If there is inclement weather (rain, snow or fluctuations in temperature—high or low) our Carrboro location may not be accepting donations at the rear of the store. Please bring your donations in through the front of the store and our staff will be happy to assist you. Our Chapel Hill location is typically not affected by inclement weather.
As a nonprofit, 501 (c)(3) organization, we are happy to provide you with a receipt for your donation. Please be aware, however, that we cannot give duplicates in the event that your original has been misplaced.
We are mindful of the environmental impact a resell organization such as ours has and do everything we can to dispose of unsellable items in a responsible way. Click here to read about our commitment to sustainability.
Because we want to be good stewards of your donations, we ask that you not leave donations at either location after hours.
Unfortunately, due to space constraints, we are unable to accept donations of building materials. However, please direct your building materials donations to the Habitat Reuse Store. Please visit their website: www.restoredurhamorange.org.