New Concord thrift shop concept is the HQ of a ‘network of sharing’

  • Katey Myers, owner of WeCycle, sits behind her desk on the thrift shop’s opening day Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. NICK REID / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Monday, August 21, 2017

About 7 p.m. on the night before she opened up her new thrift shop on Main Street in Concord, Katey Myers realized she needed more shelving to display children’s clothing.

So she posted to a free, recycled goods community online – as she’s done so many times in recent years – to see if anyone could help her out. Almost immediately, she was on her way to Hudson to pick up some metal bins.

“It shocks me every time it happens,” she said Friday shortly after opening her shop for the first time. “It’s exactly what I wanted.”

Myers, a mother of two from Concord, hopes to revolutionize the idea of thrifting with her new shop, WeCycle, on the second floor at 8 N. Main St. Her shoppers can pay to become members, which will allow them to tap into what she says is a “network of sharing.”

Members can take what they want from the shop with no additional fee, and Myers will go hunting for them for specific requests. The only expectation is that they’ll contribute with things they no longer need, she said.

This is an extension of the way Myers said she’s lived her life over the past six years. As a single, stay-at-home mom serving as the administrator – and an active participant – of an online group called “Freecycle,” she said she seldom buys anything at all from retail stores except groceries.

“I haven’t shopped in a store for anything other than laundry soap in probably six years,” she said.

The Freecycle group for the Concord area has more than 5,000 members, she said, and there are others like it. Myers said there’s an overwhelming number of people who have clothing, appliances, furniture, home furnishings and other items that are in working condition, but are no longer needed.

As a facilitator for the group, she said she learned to almost never turn down a donation, because invariably she’d hear from someone who then needed just that thing.

Between that and the fact that she served as an intermediary between parties who were wary to meet up with a stranger from the internet for the exchange, items began to take up space in her home.

“I was kind of being the middleman. I loved doing it. I loved being that piece of the puzzle, but it’s easier when it’s not in my house. It kind of takes over some space. So having this – it just fills that need,” she said.

Although there are no price tags at WeCycle, nonmembers are welcome to make reasonable offers on items they’d like to purchase, she said. All profits made this way will go into a pool to buy memberships for people who can’t afford them, Myers said.

“Because it’s donation-based, you put your value on it,” she said.

An annual membership for a household of two people for clothing is $250; for household items, furnishings and appliances, it’s $300; and for both, it’s $450. Each additional member in a household beyond the first two adds $100, she said.

But she said she hopes to offer sponsored memberships to people who need the help. Myers said the generosity of the people in the Freecycle community helped her when she needed it, and she wants to enable others to do the same.

“Where I’ve been surviving on limited everything, I kind of want to share that with people and tell them how,” she said. “I think this is a good transition, where if you seek out the community that is there to help, you can do it.”

Eclipse viewing parties

There are two gatherings in Concord today to watch the solar eclipse.

One is hosted by the city’s parks and recreation department at White Park from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Eclipse glasses and pizza will be provided by Domino’s, according to the city website.

The other event is at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, which will have a host of events.

At 10:45 a.m., WMUR meteorologist Kevin Skarupa will give a talk titled “The Nature and Impacts of the Sun,” followed at noon by a livestream of NASA coverage of the eclipse and a 1 p.m. talk with Art Hammon of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory about the science of the sun, and guided observations starting about 1:20 p.m. More events follow the eclipse.

Discovery center admission costs $10 for adults, free for members. Planetarium shows are an additional $5.

Signing off

On a personal note, I spent my last day in the Monitor newsroom Friday. I’ve been teaching myself the basics of web development over the past year, and now I’m taking the next step in that direction.

Next month, I’ll begin taking coding classes full time in Boston in pursuit of my goal of becoming a professional developer. I won’t be leaving journalism behind, however; I hope to use these new skills to produce interactive, data-driven features for the web.

So look for a new face on the front page coming soon – and several new bylines in these pages.