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Rural Ministry shops depend on area’s generosity

The Rural Ministry Garment Gallery has been a popular thrift store in Dunkirk for over 25 years and called “Dunkirk’s Best Kept Secret.” Customers have enjoyed purchasing clothing, household items and furnishings at very reasonable prices, largely due to the generosity of community donations of gently worn and used items.

This past November, Rural Ministry opened two new shops for local residents. The Book Shop is a bookstore offering a wide variety of both new and used books to readers, and Muriel’s Closet sells an interesting variety of higher quality donated goods such as clothing, jewelry, vintage items and interesting one of a kind items.

The Book Shop is operated through donations from book stores, local discount stores, individuals, and local libraries and offers a wide selection from vintage books, cookbooks, non-fiction, fiction, self-help, religious/spiritual/inspirational, science fiction, fantasy, romance and suspense. Says Sherry Lantz, coordinator of the Book Shop, “We have thousands of books in all genres and customers are very happy with the prices. We charge 75 cents for hard cover books and 50 cents for paperbacks. It doesn’t matter if the books are new, used or vintage.”

The Book Shop also offers hot beverages and will resume including a nutritious soup and mini sandwich on Thursday’s for a minimal donation beginning in September. Mini tables and chairs placed around the area are available to sit down and read, or enjoy the light snack.

Muriel’s Closet is a small retail store offering an ever-changing inventory. One of a kind gently used items are offered at very low prices. Patrons can shop for dinnerware, clothing, glassware, jewelry, housewares and one of a kind treasures. All items have been donated and are in excellent condition.

Future Book Shop plans include children’s reading activities, a book exchange program and book clubs. The Book Shop and Muriel’s Closet are regularly seeking donations to help support Rural Ministry, and encourages donors to consider items appropriate for their programs.

Both Shops are located at the current Rural Ministry location at 319 Washington Ave., Dunkirk. The shops have a private entrance at the north end of the building. Currently the Book Shop and Muriel’s hours are Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Says Lantz, “The Book Shop and Muriel’s Closet are volunteer driven, and we’re always interested in new volunteers and donations.”

If you are interested in volunteering or donating, please contact the Rural Ministry at 366-1787. Chautauqua County Rural Ministry is a United Way of Northern Chautauqua County Community Partner.

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