SOURCE: Savers

Savers thrift store

October 30, 2009 16:16 ET

"Savers" Thrift Store Lives Up to Name: Good Samaritan Employee Returns $1360 Found in Pocket of Donated Jacket

Money Errantly Donated Among Household Goods Was Restored to Rightful Owner

WARWICK, RI--(Marketwire - October 30, 2009) - Amid masks and Halloween costume mayhem, secondhand stores are no strangers to unusual sights during October, but a Savers thrift store employee recently uncovered something that stopped her in her tracks -- and allowed her to play superhero and save the day. Liz Nivar, a production team member at the Warwick, R.I. Savers located at 24 Universal Blvd., was processing donated goods last week when she uncovered a wad of bills totaling $1360 in the pocket of a men's jacket. Store employees used an accompanying wallet and credit cards to track down and return the funds to the rightful owner, a recently widowed elderly woman who had unknowingly handed over the cash when she donated her late husband's suit jacket.

"Our Savers store receives thousands of donated clothing and household goods every day, and it's standard operating procedure to check all the pockets, drawers and other hiding spots to ensure we've thoroughly processed everything," said Nivar, who has worked at the Warwick store for two months. "It's of course common to find loose change here and there, but I was surprised when I reached inside the jacket pocket and felt a thick wallet -- and I was completely shocked when I opened the wallet and found more than a thousand dollars in cash!"

Thrift stores like Savers, an international chain with more than 220 stores throughout the United States, Canada and Australia, have long been known to turn up errantly donated objects of value. This most recent discovery ranks as one of the secondhand chain's more significant cash finds in its 55-year history. Savers' most extraordinary donated discoveries include: $30k in cash found in Australia nearly two years ago; $20k in cash uncovered in Canada last year; $14k in cash tucked away in a pair of shoes in Arizona in 2006; and a pair of wedding rings valued at $30k that once turned up in a Vancouver, B.C. store. Processing millions of pounds of donated goods each year, the company estimates that network-wide its team members surprisingly discover more than $100k in left behind money annually.

"We are very proud of our team member Liz for finding the money and immediately alerting management so we could begin locating the rightful owner," said Warwick Savers Store Manager Leo D'Amico, who used the name on one of the credit cards in the wallet to track down the widower through a local credit union company within two hours. "Particularly given the struggling economy, we are happy we were able to do the right thing and put the money back where it belongs. This is definitely a bright spot and a testament that there are good citizens out there who look out for one another, even in hard times."

As part of standard operating procedure, Savers requests all employees to identify found funds, and the company then does everything it can -- using other donated items as clues, and often working with local authorities and the media -- to find the correct owner. For her recovery efforts, Nivar received a cash reward of $50 from the wallet's grateful owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, and store management. The company does not have a standard reward policy for claimed funds, but assesses it on a case-by-case basis.

The suit jacket was donated as part of a larger clothing and household goods donation. Through its Community Donation Centers located within each store, Savers receives daily drop-off donations from the community, which benefits local non-profits that each store works with, such as Big Sisters of Rhode Island in Warwick. Savers pays its non-profit alliances for all donations the stores receive, whether or not the items make it to the sales floor. Company-wide, Savers pays out more than $117 million annually to more than 120 non-profits, and has paid out more than $1 billion throughout the company's history. By accepting and reselling or properly recycling donated goods, network-wide Savers keeps more than 500 million pounds of goods out of landfills annually.

About Savers

Founded in 1954, Savers, Inc. is a privately held for-profit international thrift store chain with more than 220 locations in the United States, Canada and Australia. In Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and most Canadian provinces, the store is known as Value Village; it is known as Village des Valeurs in Quebec. The company benefits more than 128 local non-profit organizations by purchasing and reselling donated items. The result has been more than $1 billion dollars directly paid to non-profit organizations. The company employs more than 11,000 people in 24 states, 10 Canadian provinces and Australia. Visit for more information.

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