HAMPSTEAD — From Chaps to Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein to Talbots, good deals on designer brands can be found at the Elaine David Thrift Shop, celebrating its 60th anniversary this June. 

Purses, shoes, fashion jewelry, infant onesies, and wedding dresses are just a few of the hundreds of items the thrift store offers to local shoppers. Although some items may have been sported before, shoppers can also find items with the original tag still on them.

"You get the same high here as you do at the store," thrift shop Manager Barbara Dennis said. "This is the only place I buy Talbots, unless Talbots has an 80% off sale."

To celebrate the six-decade milestone, the shop is holding a $1 sale on Tuesday, June 18, and Saturday, June 22, where all items except jewelry cost only a dollar to purchase. 

Founded by Mary E. Clark, the shop began as Hollyhock Thrift Shop with a spot at what's now Town Hall in 1959. It shifted location to Hadley Hall at the Hampstead Congregational Church, before moving to the library basement in 2006.

After former librarian and thrift shop manager Elaine David passed away in November 2015, the store was re-named in her honor.

David's daughter Susan Mancusi, who dresses the outside mannequin named Elaine every day the shop is open, said helping both the library and the community with the shop was her mom's vision.

"She was a lovely, lovely, lady," Dennis said of David.


Since moving to the basement of the library, the shop has raised $115,000 for the community institution. The profits are spent on museum passes for New Hampshire and Massachusetts venues, summer reading programs for kids and equipment the library needs that may not be covered in the town budget.

Volunteer and shopper June Lahey of Derry called the volunteers "a dedicated group of individuals." 

"The quality is top notch," Lahey said. "We don't put anything out unless it's up to our standards."

The process from donation to purchase starts in a bin downstairs and is sorted by volunteers. Once the good-shape and spot free clothing is picked out, it is hung up on various racks or folded on shelves that line the shop walls. 

Although the items are already priced at only a few dollars a piece, the store often holds weeklong sales — selling items for half-off, or charging a $2 or $3 fee for however many items shoppers can fit into a grocery bag.

"Most of these prices haven't been changed in 20 years," Dennis said, who noted shoppers come from Kingston, Seabroook, Derry, and even Lawrence to browse the deals.

Forty-year veteran shopper Paulette Meyer of Hampstead said she has been coming to the store since before it was housed in the library. 

"I love the library," Meyer said. "It's really nice clothing for a very reasonable price, and great company."

Dennis said her favorite memory at the shop was finding a matching Dooney & Bourke pocketbook and wallet while sorting through the donation box. She only paid between $5 and $10 for what would normally go for hundreds of dollars. 

According to Dennis, when some items — like coats — are not able to be sold, they are donated to veterans at the Liberty House in Manchester.  

Volunteer Fran Pruett of Hampstead told a memorable story of a young, soon-to-be bride who came into the shop and admitted she hadn't purchased a dress for her wedding because she couldn't afford one.

Pruett said she and the bride went back to the fitting room, and tried on a perfectly-fitting dress that had never been worn. The price tag on it exceeded $1,000, but Pruett said the bride paid $21 for it.

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