SOURCE: Savers, Inc.

March 30, 2006 15:30 ET

Thrift Store Discovers More Than $14.5k Hiding in Pair of Pumps; Money Returned to Rightful Owner

Phoenix Resident Happy to Recover Cash Found by Honest Employee of Savers International Thrift Store Chain

PHOENIX, AZ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 30, 2006 -- Talk about a shoebox greeting -- Melissa Lopez, an employee of a Savers thrift store in Phoenix, AZ was utterly surprised when she recently discovered more than $14,500 in cash tucked into a box of black leather shoes that arrived at the store through a charity donation. Correctly assuming it was an oversight by the donor, Savers, which operates 200 stores internationally and is also known as Value Village throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada, was able to track down the rightful owner, a Phoenix-area man, and today delivered a check to him for the full amount of found cash.

"Savers has been in operation for more than 50 years, and I'm still amazed at the things we find -- it's not uncommon for our sorters to discover wads of money, valuable jewelry, and other things that accidentally make their way into donated items," said Kevin Hootman, Regional Loss Prevention Manager of Bellevue, WA-based Savers. "In those cases, it's our policy to do everything we can to find the rightful owner, and we're very grateful to have honest employees like Melissa who follow the proper procedures to make this happen. Stories like this are what make it fun to shop in thrift stores -- while items accidentally donated typically find their way back to the owner -- thrift stores have an allure of 'hidden treasure' just waiting to be discovered."

The cash, along with some banking papers, was discovered by Lopez on March 13 in a load of donated items that arrived at the Bethany Street Savers store from the Phoenix chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Savers stores get their merchandise, including high quality used clothing and household goods, by purchasing it in bulk from local charity partners, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, that collect the items and are paid by Savers based on the volume of goods delivered. Upon her discovery, Lopez turned everything over to the store supervisor who immediately secured the contents and contacted Hootman, who oversees loss prevention for Savers in the area.

Using the bank papers, Hootman was able to identify the owner by name and the last known address, only to discover the unsuspecting donor had moved two years prior. However, by searching public records current contact information was found and Savers was able to return the cash in full to the very grateful owner. The man explained his wife had sold some jewelry many years before and had placed the cash in the shoebox, but he was unaware it was still there when he donated the shoes, along with some clothing, to Big Brothers Big Sisters after she passed away earlier in the year.

"The owner was emotional and very thankful to Savers and Melissa for restoring the savings to him," said Hootman. "It was a good feeling for everyone involved to be able to do the right thing."

While accidental donations of obvious value are pulled by Savers sorters and pricers and attempts made to return the pieces to their owners, a number of substantially-valued items can still make their way onto store shelves -- usually in the form of rare toys, collectibles, artwork and other antiques. Savers, which fills the aisles of each store with more than 5,000 new items daily, receives all their merchandise through non-profit partnerships like the one with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Phoenix. In all, the thrift store chain has partnerships with more than 110 non-profits throughout its store network, and paid out more than $110 million to its partners last year alone. For more information visit www.savers.com.

About Savers, Inc./Value Village

Founded in 1954, Savers, Inc. is a privately held for-profit international thrift store chain with over 200 locations in the United States, Canada and Australia. Also known as Value Village in the western United States and Canadian provinces (and as Village des Valeurs in Quebec), the company benefits more than 110 local non-profit organizations by purchasing and reselling donated items. The result has been over one billion dollars directly paid to partners and charities. The company employs more than 8,000 people in 23 states, 10 Canadian provinces and Australia. Visit www.savers.com for more information.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Amanda Foley
    Duo PR, for Savers Inc.
    206.706.0508
    Email Contact