Amy Burns could not believe her luck in finding a cheese shaped hat. And Fort Lauderdale resident Audrey Simon snagged a foldable table and tennis bag for $3.
It's not every day one could get so lucky and find quirky and must-have household items in one place.
But they and several hundred residents and visitors did at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church Noah's Ark Thrift Shop on Aug. 14 during the shop's annual Bag Day.
Amy Burns shows off her new cheese hat. The quirky hat is one of many finds that Burns said she found during Bag Day at Noah’s Ark.
Volunteers hustled about the shop crammed with customers stuffing paper Bailey's bags with clothing, games, toys and what ever else they could for $3.
During its annual Bag Day held at the middle of August from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. customers pay $3 for a Bailey's paper sack and are then allowed to fill it with anything they can fit in it. Anything too big for the bag is marked 80 percent off.
This was the last day for shoppers to patronize the thrift shop until it reopens again on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 9:30 a.m. When Noah's Ark reopens in October it will be open on Tuesdays and Fridays only until they reopen fully for season on Nov. 1, according to volunteer staff.
St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church Noah's Ark Thrift Shop
The shop will reopen on Tuesday, Oct. 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Until Nov. 1, the store will be open on Tuesdays and Friday mornings.
2304 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel
During this down time the shop will undergo a cleaning. Donations will be accepted again starting Sept. 8.
Bag Day and the annual Fashion Show held in the spring are two sought after island events. But folks get their shopping shoes on for Bag Day. For gal pals Audrey Simon and Ellen Shelly the day mean more than a great day of shopping.
"This is our girl's day," said Shelly, a Fort Myers resident.
And Simon's shopping adventure begins a day early when she leaves her job early the day before and drives up to Shelly's home for the night. The two life-long friends get up early and head over to Noah's Ark for a bargain fueled day of fun and shopping.
Amy Burns, a college student and Sanibel resident, strategized the best ways to score the best deals.
"It's always best to do this in twos," she said.
Burns who came with a friend said she loves the way everything at Noah's is consolidated in one place.
As far as the cheese hat goes? Well Burns said she admits to being a bit of a prankster and says the hat might be used at a future social event or party.
As the lines thinned out and streams of people toting overflowing bags left, visibly wary store volunteers looked at each other and half-smiled and sighed.
The madness, the shopping blitz is over for now.
Now it's time for a break until season begins in the fall.
But Noah's Ark isn't just about great deals and stimulating a shopping high.
"It helps a lot of charities but it also helps a lot of individuals," said Jim Store, a volunteer.
The thrift shop located at 2304 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.
The shop run by a brigade of volunteers is known by locals and visitors as a bargain hunter's delight featuring a plethora of items including designer label clothing, home decor, furniture, electronics, toys and games.
All proceeds from the sales will go to two dozen local and national charitable organizations. Last year the thrift shop helped organizations such as: Brightest Horizons, Community Housing Resources, Fort Myers Soup Kitchen, F.I.S.H., Girls Making it on Purpose, Habitat for Humanity, Hope Hospice, Southwest Florida Addiction Services, and Quality Life.
During open hours, ample free parking is available on the church property. For more information about the store, call 472-3356.