After collecting clothing racks from their neighbour, the now-closed Auld Phillips, volunteers at the Mission Thiftstore II downtown Chilliwack got busy reorganizing their store, which is now open to the public. (Submitted/ The Progress)

Iconic Chilliwack store passes clothing racks on to downtown neighbours

Chilliwack Mission Thriftstore given racks and fixtures as downtown store closes for good

It was a sight to see.

A half dozen volunteers rolled countless clothing racks down a downtown Chilliwack street, with smiles wide enough to be seen from the heavens.

It all began Friday last week, when Kathy Van Muyen, manager of the Chilliwack Mission Thriftstore II called up Auld Phillips, just a few doors down the street. They had heard the news that the iconic women’s clothing store was closing, and wanted to purchase some clothing racks.

The thrift shop had been planning to buy new ones back in March, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. But being closed for two months, like many organizations, they had put that purchase on the back burner.

“We had heard that Auld Phillips was closing their doors, which is sad news to the community,” Van Muyen said. “They have been an icon here in the downtown area. However with their store closing we saw a possible opportunity of acquiring some of their store fixtures.”

READ MORE: Pandemic puts pressure on communities already challenged by homelessness

She was told over the phone that everything would be taken to the Auld Phillips warehouse, but they were free to come look at what was leftover on Monday.

“We were a bit disappointed at first but we were excited to see what they did have left for us to purchase,” Van Muyen said. “(On) Monday morning, a volunteer and I walked over.”

What they found when they arrived was unbelievable, she said.

They were told to take as many racks and fixtures as they needed. And the best part? They could take them for free.

“The only catch was that we needed to remove them by Tuesday afternoon,” she said. “As we walk back to our store, we are pinching each other, because we can’t believe this is real. This was an answer to prayer and is such an incredible blessing.”

By Tuesday they had rallied a small army of volunteers to move the racks from the Auld Phillips, which was on Yale and Nowell, down the street to the thift store.

“And then after store hours yesterday with the help of more volunteers we changed all the clothing racks! Our store looks amazing,” Van Muyen said.

All that is to say the popular downtown thrift store is open, newly organized and ready to welcome shoppers back.

“And we want to acknowledge Auld Phillips and thank them publicly for their gracious gift,” she added. “This was way more than what we expected and we are so very thankful to them.”

READ MORE: Auld Phillips closing July 4 after more than half a century in downtown Chilliwack


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