Stillwater News Press

June 6, 2014

MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE COMMUNITY: Volunteers key for Elite Repeat resale shop

By Merrick Eagleton
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Name: Marie Hesser

Age: 75

Volunteers: Elite Repeat

Day job: None

What she does: Hesser is one of five managers at Elite Repeat resale shop in downtown Stillwater. Each manager is responsible for overseeing a different department. However, she is currently sorting through stuffed animals that have been donated.

“We take the donations, sort them out according to a category in here. From there a crew takes care of each department,” Hesser said. “They price, clean and watch for soil or rips and things that need to be mended.”

Hesser comes in to the shop for several hours every day.

Why it’s important: She is one of the founders of Elite Repeat, which opened in 2002. Hesser and a group of friends wanted to do something to help out the community.

“We started our own resale shop with the idea that it was not going to be anything real big,” Hesser said. “It just has grown and grown and grown so that we now have over 10,000 square feet.”

Money made at Elite Repeat is donated to local agencies such as Habitat for Humanity, COCAA (Central Oklahoma Community Action Agency), Payne County Youth and the Boys Ranch in Perkins. When the shop first opened, it only donated to a couple of charities. Now it contributes to at least 10.

“There are a lot of volunteer agencies in Stillwater,” Hesser said. “We thought maybe we could do this and raise the money and give it to the agencies.”

How you can help: When Elite Repeat first opened, it operated with only 25 volunteers. Now there are 100-plus volunteers that come in each week, but more are always needed.

“You wouldn’t think so but many people just really want to work four hours a week, and we have to have cashiers on duty,” Hesser said. “We have to have 24 cashiers every week, and coordinators, assistant managers and then substitutes. We need substitutes all the time. Six spots every day that have to be filled in order to keep our doors open.”

Donations and customers are also important to keep the shop running.

“You have to have donors and volunteers and customers,” Hesser said. “They have to kind of balance.”