Thrifty Friends Boutique celebrates two years of success

Thrifty Friends Boutique celebrates two years of success

Christine Hinzmann – September 6, 2019 (The Citizen)

It’s the second anniversary of the Thrifty Friends Boutique and there will be a celebration at the store at 2930 Fifth Ave., on Saturday [2019] from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the celebration, there will be musical entertainment, face painting and Mr. Mike’s will hold a fundraising barbecue.

Taralynn Weaver, Ivan Paquette, Ricky Cross and Margaret Jackson are getting ready for the celebration of Thrifty Friends Boutique, 2930 Fifth Ave., second anniversary on Sept. 7.
Citizen photo by Brent Braaten

The society is all volunteer based and same goes for those who work in the boutique. Nobody takes a wage. Volunteers at the Thrifty Friends Boutique range in age from 11 to 90 years old.

The youngest volunteer can be found at the front of the store on many freezing mornings shoveling snow before he heads off to school. That’s dedication. Volunteers include new immigrants who wish to become immersed in Canadian culture, high school students who need their 30 hours of volunteer service required to graduate, seniors and other community-minded people.

The store has lots of clothing, collectibles and household items, there’s a selection of books that are on offer by donation. The boutique has a few new additions to its stock including jewelry, handmade items, and superhero aprons.

All funds raised at the store go towards local children’s camps including those for children who are hard of hearing, have arthritis or diabetes. There is also a Ukrainian orphanage that is supported by sending them clothing and easy reader books. “We also support local women and men’s shelters,” said Margaret Jackson, a retiree who started volunteering to give back to the community. She found out all elementary schools in the district have resource rooms where children have access to a change of clothing when they get wet or muddy and the store donates to those in need that way, too.

The boutique is looking to expand into some community programming that can build a strong connection within the area.

Unveiled during the second anniversary celebration will be a community crafts corner where those interested in making usable pieces by upcycling items are more than welcome to explore their artistic side.

“There will be artists at the celebration, including a gentleman who will help with beading and there will be a lady doing spool knitting,” Jackson said. To continue the effort to bring the community together, Jackson applied for an Enhance PG grant from the city to give the side wall of the building that houses the store a creative boost. Once the grant was in place, she put a call out to artists who would like to be part of the project. As part of the mandate of inclusivity, all interested artists were invited to submit an application to collaborate on the mural project.

Ivan Paquettte,a local artist and aboriginal cultural worker, is the project coordinator who helped organize the painters, facilitated putting a concept in place and now the art is going on the wall.

Ricky Cross, Taralynn Weaver, Katelynn Steeves, Dennis Gladu, Nick Ulan and Ryan Sanderson are the artists who are taking on the project. “We’re new to each other and when we got together it all just clicked,” Cross said. “We’re about the neighbourhood, right? We want to represent the neighbourhood and what we’ll do is show unity so as we are doing our work we’ll keep that in our minds and hearts.”

“And we’re all about bringing back the light,” he added. “We want people to come around and feel the togetherness and that’s what we’re about and it’s going to shine through our art.” The painting will be a cohesive set of subjects that blend together to offer a representation of what makes Prince George unique.

Everyone is welcome to attend the anniversary celebration at Thrifty Friends Boutique on Saturday where they can see the finished mural.

Visit Thrifty Friends Boutique on Facebook for more information.