Windfall on Perry: Church-run thrift store offers bargains while raising money for community groups
The chime of a replica Titanic bell beckons you from above as you enter the Windfall Thrift Store. Nestled in the heart of a bustling South Perry neighborhood, this whimsical thrift store has been enriching life and helping locals for over 60 years, with a history as colorful and endearing as that of the area around it.
Originally founded to furnish the Jewett House under the direction of two women from St. John the Evangelist Cathedral, church records show the Windmill Thrift Store opened in 11th and Perry in 1961 for rent of $40 per month. It quickly outgrew that space and then moved one block down the street, renamed Windfall where it still stands today at 1024 S. Perry St. Run by volunteers with no overhead except for supplies, all money raised at the Windfall goes to local charities including Union Gospel Mission, Arc of Spokane and Daybreak Youth Services, with additional funds delegated to Grant Elementary School in the Perry District.
“As the district changes, so does the nature of our customers,” said Patricia Williams, co-manager of Windfall, who has volunteered at the store since 1987. low income who really need to shop at a thrift store,” she said.
Shoppers entering the Windfall will find an eclectic mix of low-cost clothing, homewares, books and vintage deals.
“We don’t know the source of many of our donations,” Williams said. “People stop and drop them off. These may be regular customers. It can be people from the neighborhood. We had people from Twin Lakes, Idaho. They just come from everywhere.
Despite decades of change in the block where it is located, Windfall has managed to survive and thrive, an achievement Williams attributes to the heart and hard work of the volunteers who have spent long hours sorting, pricing and selling the goods from the store, but more importantly, to listen and reach out to the people they serve.
“We have customers who have been coming for 20 years. We have volunteers who have been there for a long time. We know the names of many customers,” Williams said. “It’s a real link between our regular customers and our volunteers.
Those who make the magic happen include Robin Morissey. His hours at the Windfall often bring back fond memories of the days when his granddaughter, Sara, helped him around the store.
“She was about 10 and I spent a lot of time with her over the summer growing up. I grew up with her. She grew up with me,” Morissey said. summer and I taught her how to give change and how to operate the cash register. Just little things. She helped me sort things out and turn them off.
Even former volunteers find it hard to resist the lure of a Windfall treasure hunt.
“I really enjoy shopping there,” said Andie Keller, who is a frequent hangout and has purchased a huge range of items over the past 10 years. Her favorite finds include giraffe statues, Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and a decorated birdhouse.
“I found all sorts of interesting things there. We never know. If you see it, get it, because if you don’t, it’s gone,” Keller said.