Local thrift store closes doors on Main St.

“It makes me feel very sad,” Betty said, looking out over the shop.

From across the counter, a customer chimes in. “You’ve been there since the very beginning, right?” Betty nods. St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop has been open in downtown Cedar Falls for over 25 years, and she’s seen all of them.

Even during its last few weeks, the shop is busy. People handle their prospective purchases, then carry them out in a variety of recycled plastic bags for a gloriously low price. St. Vincent has never seemed to care about profits, provided they could keep the store open.

Between 50 cent hardcover novels and the shopping cart full of free items that always sits just outside their doors and their so-called 25-cent Fridays, during which all clothing costs just a quarter, they can’t possibly be making much of a profit, especially considering the high rent in downtown Cedar Falls.

St. Vincent is more charity than commerce, more caring than costing. Its customers are, for the most part, known by name. Betty, who has worked at St. Vincent since its downtown debut in the late eighties, greets many of the customers with friendly familiarity.

The shop closes officially on Feb. 28 due to a change in building ownership, and all remaining merchandise will be transferred to their Waterloo building.

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