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Edmonds Senior Center Thrift Store manager is retiring


Barbara Halseth, who played a major role in the success of the Edmonds Senior Center Thrift Store, is retiring after 17 years.

Barbara Halseth, Edmonds Senior Center Thrift Store manager, will soon be retiring after 17 years.

While she may have started by volunteering only one day a week, she ended up volunteering six days a week and said she has enjoyed the variety of working at the store, both with the people and the merchandise.

For her, each day has been different and the tasks challenging. Sometimes, it can even be difficult to determine what a certain donation actually is. Any unknown items, “whatsits” they call them, will sit on a table so every volunteer can try their hand to see if they know what it is.

Farrell Fleming, the Senior Center’s executive director, said, “Barb developed the pricing, supervised the merchandising, oversaw a volunteer staff of 35, and developed standards for processing donations that have let this store contribute an astounding $150,000 a year to the Edmonds Senior Center budget.”

To increase the money the thrift store received, she removed items that weren’t selling, like audio tapes, and realized the importance of clean-looking merchandise, which affects whether an item will sell.

Halseth also organized the store’s move from its waterfront location to the QFC Shopping Center in Westgate, which she said was a great deal of work. She helped decide which items to bring to the new location, packing accordingly to minimize the amount of work volunteers would have to do when unpacking and setting the store up.

At the new location, Halseth said the clientele are different because many were unaware of the thrift store at its waterfront location, and have found out about it because of its temporary home.

"It's amazing how many Edmonds people don't go down toward the water, and they don't know the Senior Center's there, so I hope when the new building is built, that more people come down and see what we have because it's for everybody,” Halseth said.

Bob Rinehart, president of the Senior Center board of directors, said, “Barb played a major role in developing what the Edmonds Senior Center Thrift Store is today. Under her leadership, the Thrift Store is a respected competitor in the retail niche and a favorite of customers.”

Halseth has noticed that some of the customers even come from other states, and each time they come back to visit relatives, they pay a visit to the store.

After retiring, she will continue to clean and repair some of the jewelry the thrift store receives.

Barbara Halseth’s retirement party, Manager Appreciation Day, is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 31 at the Edmonds Senior Center Thrift Store, 100th Avenue West and Edmonds Way.


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