Nancy Alumbaugh was all smiles as rain began to sprinkle down and the chilly wind began to pick up outside the boutique store Friday.
Alumbaugh, along with fellow PALS volunteers Janet Ferguson and Debby Koepplin, had worked tirelessly for weeks prepping the newest thrift store on Pine and Main streets — dubbed Wags to Riches: A Repeat Boutique. But even with little sleep and cold weather, the ladies were nothing but happy.
After a few photo ops and slicing through a gold and crimson ribbon, customers and employees flocked into the store to celebrate its grand opening.
Scents of cinammon and ginger wafted through the air as people began excitedly pulling out items for purchase, anything from tote bags to Pendleton shirts.
The store, full of items ranging from household items to an antique phone, was the brainchild of Alumbaugh and Ferguson as they took a 12-hour drive to pick up a dog out-of-state.
"The things that come out of discussions that take place while you are stuck in a confined space for an extended period of time ... be careful what you wish for," Alumbaugh said with a laugh.
For roughly a year, PALS volunteers had been attempting to come up with a unique sustainability plan to help pay extensive amounts of veterinary bills.
As the group researched possible options, thrift stores kept popping up as lucrative ways to make some money in tough economic times.
Alumbaugh and others visited various stores to figure out what they liked and what they did not like before beginning to look for locations in Lodi that would best fit their idea for their "repeat boutique," a thrift store that Alumbaugh wants to reflect good, quality items.
"We are still getting our bearings; this is very new for us," Alumbaugh said. "We are splitting our time between here and the shelter, but we are hoping that this effort will start a much-needed revenue stream."
Making money should not be a problem, according to councilman Larry Hansen, who was on hand to congratulate the women on their store's grand opening.
"It is so nice to see this place finally occupied, and it is a great place to shop," he said. "I don't know if you know this, but thrift stores are absolutely in right now."
And even with the store opening on Friday, people were already coming from out of town to shop prior to the ribbon-cutting to snag some good deals.
A woman from Elk Grove drove down after seeing the store's information on CBS channel 31, just to be able to purchase an Ed Hardy bag and some children's clothing.
"We were so thrilled that someone already wanted to buy something that we accidentally gave her the wrong time to come down," Alumbaugh said. "But I don't think she minded. She seemed pretty pleased."
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.