Elite Repeat was going to be different.
A resale store that gives its proceeds to charity. It wasn’t a new idea. But the founders of Elite Repeat wanted to stand out.
Marie Hesser, Jan Haan, Vicki Phillips, Elaine Revaz and Sue Baker once said they didn’t have a “business plan” but a “belief plan.” Four million dollars in donations later, they must have found the special sauce.
It’s actually not that secret, said merchandising manager Marge Overholt. She said it’s all about inclusiveness. Everyone is a stakeholder in a way. That includes the 90 or more volunteers, the board of directors, the people who make donations, the people who purchase items and the people who receive donations.
This year – and it’s varied over the years – Elite Repeat has or will donate to the Health Steps Early Childhood Coalition Program, Stillwater Community Health Center, Payne County Youth Services, Wondertorium, Weekend Food Sacks, Interfaith Counseling, Life Center, Meadows of Hope, Mpower, Stillwater Habitat for Humanity, Our Daily Bread, Stillwater PTA and COCAA.
“There’s some agency there that probably touches you personally. There’s not just an ownership by our people, our volunteers, there’s also an ownership of people who give things to us, who shop here,” she said. “People like being part of the success. If you’re a shopper or a donor, you’re part of our mission, so you’re a part of this $4 million success story. We can’t do it without either.”
Elite Repeat, 711 S Main, is modeled to reflect a department store – sections for housewares, clothing, a children’s section, books, furniture, small appliances, crafts and seasonal items. Everything up to Waterford crystal, sometimes said Overholt.
“The range is endless,” Overholt said. “The clothing is a full range of vendors, because everything is donated. Actually, we’re getting more and more new because people don’t ship things back.”
Unfortunately, the celebration for hitting the high-water mark will have to wait as well. Elite Repeat has been shut down, even before the governor’s executive order, because most of the volunteers are retired.
"Most of our volunteer are like me, retired, over 65, we have a lady that's 95, we just didn't feel we could take the chance with our volunteers because of our age group,” said business manager Ruth Walker.
Elite Repeat will be back in business when things return to normal, but even after it does, it will never be a normal run-of-the-mill resale shop.
“We sell treasures,” Overholt said. “We receive treasures that are inexpensive but we receive treasures of great value, some of them financially worth a great deal are treasure when sometimes it’s their parents’ things, they come back here and have house full of stuff. We respect that and honor that, that’s why everything isn’t a dollar. People know what we do and they want to support what we do.”