Monika Cary continues legacy of Thrift Shop

photo by Kim Cameron
Monika Cary has volunteered for the Last Time ‘Round
Thrift for the last 15 years.

For the last fifteen years, Monika Cary has been a mainstay volunteer at Kremmling’s Last Time ‘Round Thrift Shop, and because of her efforts, the Thrift Shop has continued to thrive and contribute to nonprofits and charitable organizations in Kremmling. It also serves as a shop where visitors and locals can find almost anything on their wish list.

Monika is passionate about providing a service for Kremmling where individuals can buy inexpensive yet quality items without leaving the city limits. She notes they have everything from shoes, hoodies, swimsuits, books, household items and more.

“Our goal is to move merchandise, and if we make money that is a good thing,” said Monika of the Thrift Shop’s idealogy. In fact, it turns out to be a very good thing, for everyone in Kremmling.

“Every penny stays in Kremmling,” says Monika who ensures that the money is given to local charities and organizations that serve Kremmling.

Historically, the Thrift Shop has always served as a fundraiser for Kremmling’s Heritage Park Museum, and 80% of the Thrift Shop’s proceeds are still given to the museum for operation. Other proceeds are given to the Kremmling Library’s wish list of items, the Mountain Family Center’s tote program which provides food over the weekend for school-age children, the West Grand School’s field trips, the Trouble some Valley Horse Rescue, Mountain Valley Christian Academy, and has sponsored bands for events hosted by the Kremmling Chamber.

Wherever there is a need, the Thrift Shop fills in gaps. At the food bank, the Thrift Shop now provides fresh milk and dairy products on Tuesdays.

“There is a lot of canned goods and dry foods available, and we want to make sure that families also have fresh foods,” said Cary of the new program.

The Thrift Shop also gives away much of its donated merchandise to those in need, and they work hand in hand with the Kremmling Police Department and local churches to help transients and those experiencing hard times.

The Thrift Shop definitely has a symbiotic relationship within the community. Forrest and Lindsay Hester own the building and give the Thrift Shop a reduced rent rate, and Larry Gross manages the finances. The Thrift Shop also relies on the community for donations and volunteers. The Thrift Shop regularly has six to seven volunteers, but could always use more.

Monika describes the volunteers as a, “big-hearted cohesive group that is respectful of each other and very giving.” Even though Monika says the volunteers truly “take ownership of the Shop and make it their own.” She tries to make sure the volunteers are rewarded and receive perks for their volunteers hours. “They receive free clothes, and we attend all the Grand County Historical Association events.”

Volunteers help manage the Shop during store hours and also spend a Saturday at the end of the month changing out all clothing inventory and redonating unpurchased items to ARC in Denver.

Monika began volunteering at the Thrift Shop after her move to Kremmling. She saw a sign in the window of the Thrift Shop when it was on the 10th Street asking for volunteers, and Monika began volunteering every Monday when Loree Johnson was manager.

“Monday is still my day,” said Monika more than a decade later.

Monika stated that all the volunteers bring their unique talents and gifts to the Thrift Shop, and her specialty is organization and creating store displays. She spends time perfecting the displays and making sure the Shop is eye appealing. Monika credits her German mother and military upbringing for her ability to keep everything organized. She also credits her diverse background in retail. In 2001, Monika moved to Kremmling from Arvada with her husband Tom, a retired land-surveyor. She is currently a legal videographer, but has broad experiences in the work field from selling water beds and jeans, to an office manager and buyer for office products, to soccer photography. She is also a volunteer throughout Kremmling and serves on the Community Church benevolence committee. She has recently stepped down from the Kremmling Design Committee and the Friends of the Library board.

Monika and her husband are avid dancers and met on the dance floor. They share four children and six grandchildren and will celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2018. Monika says her husband is supportive of the Thrift Shop and is the muscle behind the scene.

“He is always available to paint things, to move things, to help haul the trailer, to build things. He is ‘the man,’” says Monika appreciatively.

The Thrift Shop was born from the generosity of the community. One story of its beginnings was that Bernice Overholt and friends organized a community garage sale and had so much fun that they continued it to the next weekend and then the one after that, until it evolved into the Thrift Shop. However, the late Laureen Myers believed its origins were with the Rebekah Lodge that was located on Eagle Avenue.

To volunteer at the Thrift Shop, contact Monika at 970-724-2912.