Photo: ditto’s grand opening in 2011
By Rachel Mari
Since opening in September of 2011, ditto, an upscale resale store, has continued to exceed expectations and has donated 1.4 million dollars to Eastern Christian School. The store generates revenue through the sale of new and gently used items at its 13,000 square foot facility at 965 Belmont Avenue in North Haledon, NJ.
This year alone has brought a marked increase in support for the school, according to David Visbeen, executive director of The Foundation for Eastern Christian School Association.
“Our sales are up almost $75,000 from the same period (September through May) of last year. This has allowed us to increase significantly the funds that we donate to Eastern Christian, as well as increase our community donations for the year,” Visbeen said. ”At our volunteer dinner in May, with about 120 in attendance, we announced that number and it is beyond our wildest dreams when we opened the store.”
ditto caters to buyers of gently-used quality clothing, furniture, toys, appliances, sporting goods, books, and household items. The process fosters a cycle from which everyone benefits: donors bring in their items and receive a tax deduction; shoppers enjoy a large selection of high-quality goods at reasonable prices; Eastern Christian School receives financially from the sale of those items; and the store provides a place for volunteers to use their God-given talents. (story continues after photo)
The staff works hard to keep the store well stocked, as well as clean and tidy. “We work really hard not to feel like a thrift store to our customers,” explained Visbeen.
All proceeds from ditto go directly to Eastern Christian, with ten percent of its profits being donated to other non-profits and charitable organizations in the community. Past recipients have included: Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center, New Hope Community Ministries, Ridgewood CRC Baby Bank, Salvation Army, Paterson Habitat for Humanity, and the North Haledon Police Department, Fire Department, Ambulance Corps, and Library.
The store is run by a few part-time managers and a crew of volunteers, who set their own schedules and receive a store discount (after committing to a set time and completing eight hours of work). Volunteers are comprised of those who have a heart for Eastern Christian—current students, parents and family members of students, former students, etc. Although there are currently 150 registered volunteers, ditto is always welcoming more. (story continues after photo)
“Our most significant need is more volunteers,” said Visbeen. “Volunteers are what make us successful and we can use sorters, cashiers, pricers, tinkerers (we have lots of electronics and toys that need to be checked for operation), and volunteers who simply stock the shelves and tidy up on the floor.
“Our staff jokes that these days that every day is Saturday—a reference to the fact that when we opened, Saturdays were the busiest day for sales and donations,” he said. “Now every day is busy…Our God is amazing and He has opened the floodgates.”
For information, call (973) 423-4886 or visit www.dittonj.org. The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday (closed on Sunday). Donations are accepted Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.