Before six years ago, Ed Hudson had never stepped foot into a thrift shop or gave much thought to them.
But now, thrift stores are his life, with Hudson spending more than 50 hours per week as the chief executive of Good Stuff Thrift. The local chain has three stores in Bucks County and a fourth on South Broad Street in Hamilton, all of which donate their proceeds to four charities close to Hudson’s heart.
Hudson said he started looking for ways to help children in 2011 as a member of the board for Bethany Christian Services, which works with foster care, adoption services and family life counseling. A fellow board member, Paul Bauer, runs Impact Thrift Stores in Pennsylvania, and suggested Hudson explore starting his own store. Neither Hudson or his wife Denise had experience with thrift stores prior. Hudson is a mechanical engineer by trade. Denise worked as a high-level executive in the pharmaceutical industry.
But Hudson started Good Stuff Thrift in 2013 anyway, taking the name from a donation drive at his church. Since then, Good Stuff Thrift has taken off, with chain adding three additional stores and donating close to $1M in cash and goods annually.
The success hasn’t driven Hudson to look for more. He said his chain is in a good place now: big enough to make a difference but small enough that the business doesn’t require overhead costs that could cut into the store’s pool of donation funds.
“This is as big as we’re going to get,” Hudson said. “Right now, there’s no one at the store who doesn’t do stuff on the floor. We’re all hands on.”
Good Stuff’s main goal is to earn as much a profit as possible in order to donate more to the community, Hudson said. Most of Good Stuff’s donations go to four charities: Bethany Christian Services, Christ’s Home residential program, Hunting Park Christian Academy and Choice One family and pregnancy counseling. Last year, Good Stuff donated $200,000 to those organizations, plus $600,000 in furniture to Deserving Decor, a program that gives furniture to in-need families. Hudson said he hopes to give $250,000 to the charities in 2017.
The Hamilton location is a vital part of that mission, opening a year-and-a-half ago practically across the street from the Broad Street Diner at 2607 S. Broad St. The store spans two large rooms, jam-packed full of clothing for men, women and children, jewelry, homeware, furniture and more. Even in the middle of a weekday afternoon, customers will be found shopping for deals, like $1 men’s ties.
It’s a far cry from when the store first opened, manager Evelyn Quinones said. The building itself required freshening up, and the staff worked hard to make the store look nice and have a robust and constantly renewed stock.
Now, the contents of the store change over about every two weeks, and requires constant attention to process donations and place the items out on the floor. Quinones takes pride in how much the Hamilton location has grown since opening.
“This store is my baby,” she said.
Good Stuff accepts donations in-store, and will pick up furniture to be donated for free. Good Stuff is a registered nonprofit, and tax receipts are available for donations.
Hudson said those giving or buying from Good Stuff Thrift should feel good about what they’re doing.
“You buy something here, you’re helping hundreds of kids in the community,” Hudson said.
Good Stuff Thrift is located at 2607 S. Broad St. in Hamilton, near the Broad Street Diner. Phone: (609) 508-1881. goodstuffthrift.org.