When the Thrifty Spot opened its doors for the first time in late 2010, the special education staff at Mathews High School hoped it would offer its students a chance to gain some practical work skills.
Two years later, it has done that … and much more.
The Thrifty Spot celebrated its second anniversary with a party, complete with cake, on Friday. Special ed students work in every aspect of the business, from getting the merchandise ready for sale, stocking the shelves, pricing the items, to greeting the customers and ringing up the sales.
If anyone needs a reminder of the store’s purpose, they just have to look up above the counter at the register to see the "Welcome to our classroom" banner.
Along the way, the Thrifty Spot has become something else—a successful business. When special ed teacher Cathy Walker initiated the program, she thought that the best she could hope for was making enough money to pay the rent. Now, not only are they doing that, but they’re actually putting money back into the school system’s coffers.
The first year in business, Thrifty Spot proceeds helped to fund a washing machine at MHS, pay for the Edmark Diagnostic Reading Program, and provide a scholarship to a program at Gloucester’s Puller Center.
Less than a year after it first opened, the Thrifty Spot expanded, moving down the street to its current, larger space in Hudgins at the corner of Buckley Hall and Cricket Hill roads.