What’s old is new again in Westborough


Elite Repeats Thrift Shop supports those in need


By Lauren B. Schiffman, Contributing Writer

Diane Barrette, Nancy Carlson and Peggy Yankee have fun showing off some of the clothing for sale at St. Stephen’s Elite Repeats Thrift Shop
Diane Barrette, Nancy Carlson and Peggy Yankee have fun showing off some of the clothing for sale at St. Stephen’s Elite Repeats Thrift Shop
Photo/Lauren Schiffman

Westborough – When three longtime members of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Westborough put their heads together to determine how the church could raise funds for miscellaneous projects and support the Westborough community, the Elite Repeats Thrift Shop was reborn.

Diane Barrette, Nancy Carlson and Peggy Yankee agreed that reviving the church’s thrift shop would be a wonderful way to engage the congregation and the community at large, according to Carlson. Elite Repeat sells “gently used items at an appealing price.” However, Carlson said that for individuals and families in “dire straits, we don’t charge them.”

Although the thrift shop has been open since December, donations started coming in last summer. The trio has combed through every item and sorted, organized and priced them. Situated in the church’s basement, shoppers can find clothing, jewelry, household items, furniture, cribs, lamps and more.


It takes a village

Items have been donated by individuals as well as other entities, including Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, which donated items it wasn’t able to use in its own fundraising efforts. 

Another is Westborough Youth & Family Services (WYFS). Julia O’Neil-Welch, WYFS Administrative Assistant, coordinates efforts with the trio by letting them know what community members need and in what sizes. When the bags are ready, O’Neil-Welch picks them up from St. Stephen’s and delivers them to people in need in Westborough.

“Elite Repeats provides relief in many wonderful ways while respecting the privacy and dignity of those in need. The volunteers are so dedicated and are true humanitarians who serve from the heart. WYFS is in great support of the mission they embrace,” said O’Neil-Welch.

Mary Taber is a Westborough-based social worker for the Forbes Kirkside Foundation, which provides support for families in need in Westborough. Taber is “delighted that [the shop] is there. It’s needed. We all have stuff in our basements that someone else can use,” she said. 

In fact, Taber, in addition to Carlson and O’Neil-Welch as well as Nan Ford at St. Luke’s and Terry Gavin of the nonprofit In Your Shoes, all serve as conduits between community members in need and Elite Repeats. When they come across an individual or family in need, they may refer them to the shop – and even deliver items. “We are known to people who call us to pass along items,” Taber said.


How you can help

While the amount of items sold in the thrift shop is not sparse, Barrette said that they’re “accepting donations of gently used items that anyone might buy in a thrift shop.” The kids section has toys, clothing and books, but “we can use more kids’ stuff,” she added, “including diapers” and “storage bins, freestanding racks and plastic hangers.” Having said that, “the community has been so generous.”


Time to shop

Elite Repeat Thrift Shop hours are Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Thursdays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. No appointment is necessary, and guests are asked to enter the store and/or make donations by following signs to the back of the church, which is located at 3 John Street, across from Westborough High School. 

The community has embraced the initiative.

“A lot of our neighbors come in every week to shop, and they bring donations. People from the parish also come in with their donations. We can’t see the smile on their face, but we can see the smile in their eyes. We have such a ball,” said Carlson.


The final word

Carlson said that part of the thrift shop’s initiative is to raise funds for things the parish wants to do around the church.

“The other part of the mission is to reach out to people and let them know we’re here. We just want to help people,” she said. 

For additional information, visit https://www.facebook.com/ststephenswestboro.