Some might call it a thrift shop, but Hidden Treasures, located in the Meadowood Guest House, looks and feels more like a high-end boutique. Ann Stathopoulos, Manager, and her Co-manager, Eleanor Kingsbury, spend countless hours making this eclectic treasure trove gleam.
“It’s a very labor-intensive job,” Eleanor says. “We have all these boxes and materials coming in from all over the community — we have to go through and sort them.”
By the time they’ve finished sorting and arranging, Ann and Eleanor have uncovered some amazing finds. What do they sell at Hidden Treasures? “Anything you can possibly think of,” says Eleanor.
There’s cookware, electronics, clothing, vases, dishes, artwork, walking sticks, umbrellas, microwaves, clock radios, curling irons, like-new sofas, chairs and so much more.
But Ann, whose long list of duties includes interfacing with donors, handling financials, arranging pickup, and more, says there are some things she leaves to Eleanor. “Anything that comes in that I think is really special, I give to Eleanor; she knows antiques,” Ann explains. “That department is her baby.”
“I’ve been a collector forever,” says Eleanor. “I’m not an expert, but I can tell when I look at something what is really important.”
Some recent special treasures have included an Ethan Allen piece, a Chippendale reproduction table, a Chinese checkers game with gorgeous wood, a beautiful chess set, a marble coffee table, two eight-inch-tall Hummel dolls, a 12-piece Mikasa set … and the list goes on.
If you’re not already drooling at the shopping possibilities, maybe it will push you over the edge to learn that 100% of the profits from Hidden Treasures go to the Meadowood Benevolence Fund, which ensures that residents who run out of funds due to no fault of their own will always have a home at Meadowood. In a normal year, the shop might contribute as much as $19,000 in profits to the fund. “Even with the pandemic, we’ve contributed over $7,000 since July 1,” says Ann.
And the shop has several other missions, like outreach to frazzled new residents with too much stuff. “Most people moving in have too many possessions, and we take them off their hands,” says Ann.
The shop also makes life easier for families of residents who are downsizing to a smaller residence at Meadowood or have passed away. “It’s such a relief for the families. We handle everything, so they don’t have to worry about it,” says Ann. “One family member called and said, “You have no idea how much that has helped us.”
If items don’t sell in a timely manner, they are donated to the Rudden Family Foundation in Reading, Pennsylvania. “The Foundation works with area social service agencies to help people who have come upon hard times: single mothers, people who’ve had their home burnt to the ground,” explains Eleanor. “They can pick up anything — from dishes to furniture — and don’t pay a thing.”
And Hidden Treasures has one last mission. “Normally (pre-pandemic), 25 volunteers work at the store,” says Ann. “We try to make it a happy, uplifting place for our volunteers.”
Prices at Hidden Treasures start at a dollar or two. “One woman came in and totally furnished her grandson’s apartment. Tables, sofas, she bought everything,” says Ann. “People get a good buy because we sell things dirt cheap.”
One category that flies out of the store? Electric recliners. “You’d pay $600–$700 in a store, but we sell them for $100–$125,” Eleanor says. “We also just sold a Samsung TV for $15. We never know what we are going to get.”
Two hot tips: All sweaters, even the nicest brands, are $4. And quality winter coats are $7. “I actually bought one myself … a London Fog,” says Ann.
Some of the shop’s best customers are team members who buy dressers, sofas and chairs for their children who are setting up house.
And one team member who’s a new fan of the store? John Kotsatos, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “John came in and bought a limited edition print of the Betsy Ross house in Philadelphia and saw several other things he really liked. What astonished him most of all was how appealing it all was and what lovely things were in here. We take a lot of trouble setting things up. That’s the frustrated designer in me,” Eleanor jokes.
Ann has been doing this labor of love for four years. “When I moved to Meadowood in 2016, a friend asked me if I would help her at Hidden Treasures,” she says. “It is very rewarding for me. I am really happy to be able to help people.”
Eleanor has joined her for 3½ years. “Somebody who was working there suggested I help with antiques and collectibles,” she says, “and I became more and more involved.”
“One customer, a member of the public, said, ‘I’m so thankful you’re here. I couldn’t afford to buy this somewhere else.’ I think we really help a lot of people,” says Ann.
If you live within the community, your purchases are even delivered to you for free. So, if you’re missing some gleaming treasure in your life, join us every Wednesday from 11 a.m.–2 p.m., or every other Saturday from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Come find your hidden treasure!