At first glimpse, the store appears like a well-presented thrift shop of donated items. It is that, but there also are new items, handmade merchandise, vintage clothing, quality costume jewelry and even brand-new designer wedding gowns. The mixture of everything from Barbies with hand-tailored outfits to small appliances and fur coats stems partly from the genesis of the store a decade ago as an extension of an annual yard sale and auction fundraiser for the maternity programs offered through the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Linda Heno, manager, and her friend, Joan Garrity, first founded the store after realizing they received enough donations from the public to sustain much more than a sale or two a year at St. Clement of Rome Church.
"The things we were getting for the sales were so good -- china, furniture, antiques -- but we were practically giving the stuff away to get rid of it at the end of the sale because we had no space," Heno says. At first, the store operated out of donated spaces and had a limited schedule. Over the past decade, it has evolved into a full-time business staffed by more than 50 volunteers and open six days a week. In June, Second Glance will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a monthlong half-off sale on almost everything in the store.
Although the business has changed, the goal and purpose has not. All proceeds still benefit a range of programs dealing with child-bearing issues, including counseling, abstinence programs in schools, adoption programs, St. Vincent's Maternity Clinic for low-income expectant parents, as well as helping to provide clothing and other items to fire victims, Heno says.
"This is where my heart lies," Heno says of the programs supported by Second Glance. "I was originally a counselor with ACCESS (maternity counseling program) and became a board member. These are good programs; I believe in them. I had a daughter and I felt like I would be able to talk with her and deal with her better if I got involved."
A decade later Heno is still tirelessly involved, continually seeking out new merchandise from stores that are moving, closing or just getting rid of seasonal stock. The result is new batik outfits that still bear the manufacturer's tags; dozens of new designer wedding gowns donated by an Uptown boutique, complete sets of china and dinnerware, greeting cards, collectibles and more. Shoppers also will find great deals on items donated by supporters and the general public, including a large selection of clothing for all ages, evening gowns, several fur coats, fashion accessories, furniture, small appliances, toys and recently an old-fashioned steamer trunk.
"We accept anything except large appliances," Heno says. "We don't always put all of it out for sale. It's got to be in good saleable condition." The store benefits from volunteers, who sometimes take home particularly nice items they hope to clean, press and do simple repairs on. Heno says that although the store doesn't deal in large appliances such as washers and refrigerators, she would like to have a portable dishwasher so volunteers wouldn't have to haul home donated dishes to run through their own machines. Volunteers also donate their time and talents in the form of handmade aprons, handbags, bibs and crafts; like-new Barbie dolls with custom-designed clothing; and christening gowns that come with a new life-size baby doll dressed in the outfit.
"We get new things all the time," Heno says. "We sell lots of jewelry, and Raymond's Jewelry is nice enough to help with appraising it. We have small appliances -- and they all work -- furniture, whatever we have gotten in recently." In addition to an always-changing stock, customers get to walk away with a satisfied feeling.
"They feel almost like they're making a donation (to the programs the store supports), but also getting something in return," Heno says. "The people donating items also feel like they're supporting something good."
Cingular Wireless, the second largest wireless carrier in the country, opened an innovative new retail store on the Northshore two weeks ago. The store at 1102 N. Hwy. 190, Suite B, Covington (985-875-1993) features a "live bar," where customers can test the different wireless products and services that are available before they buy.