- Associated Press - Saturday, April 23, 2016

RANSON, W.Va. (AP) - For Marlene Myers Plumer, owner of New Hope Thrift Store, saving customers money on clothing, books and household items is secondary to bringing smiles to the faces of members of the community and providing hope for families of children with cancer.

Plumer opened New Hope in July with her husband, Eddie, and their daughter, Tina. Plumer currently lives in Martinsburg but said she grew up in Jefferson County and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1980.

Plumer said her ties to the area are what made her choose to open her store in Ranson.

“I wanted to give back to the area I grew up in. Really, what my store is, more than anything is a ministry. I wanted to do outreach to the community as well,” she said.

Part of that community outreach is assisting local families who have lost their homes and belongings in a fire, or giving items in the store to people who may not be able to afford them. Plumer said she sees many customers who come from Jefferson Medical Center seeking items like walkers and wheelchairs. Plumer said an elderly woman recently offered her $3 for a walker because that was all the money she had, and Plumer gave the walker to her for free because she was in need.

Plumer also makes monthly contributions from the store to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. While the proceeds from her sales do not go directly into her monthly donations, Plumer said if the store has had a good sales month, she will add more money to the amount she donates.

Plumer said her donations to St. Jude are part of why she chose the name “New Hope” for her store.

“There’s always hope, and in this world, we need all the hope we can get. My father died of cancer in 1992. Seeing what he went through and what so many members of my family went through, I would hate to think of a small child right at the dawn of life getting hit with this. St. Jude is always talking about hope,” she said.

In addition to her generosity, Plumer said her strong Christian beliefs have influenced her interaction with customers.

“I’m more of a face-to-face type of person. I think the way society is today, we’re getting away from that face-to-face communication. When somebody comes in here, I want them to feel special. I learn their names,” she said.

Plumer said some customers come in because they just need to talk to someone, and she said it’s not uncommon for her to pray with and for people who come into the store.

New Hope Thrift Store, located at 406 N. Mildred St., is open from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday - Friday and 10 a.m.- 4p.m. Saturday. Plumer said she accepts donated items for the store during regular business hours.

If customers are looking for a particular item Plumer doesn’t have in the store, she said she puts their names and telephone numbers in a notebook and calls when or if the item they’re looking for comes in.

“Going above and byeond and doing that little extra to help people is what sets this store apart,” Plumer said. “I’ve had customers say that to me. They say ‘people, not profits’ and if you treat people well, the money will come.”

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Information from: The Journal, https://journal-news.net/


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