Granny’s Attic lends a second hand to
By Marina-Rae Gill, Online Editor
With isles, shelves, and racks filled with items ranging from stylish garments to everyday household items, Granny’s Attic has reached its 48th year in business on Vashon Island. Since its founding, the second hand store has devoted itself to supporting various health care facilities on the island, with the hopes of protecting the well being of island residents. Granny’s Attic originally began in 1973 with a group of women who volunteered at Vashon’s Health Center. They raised money through plant and rummage sales and would donate large portions of the proceeds to the Health Center each month. Eventually the organization expanded, growing into what would soon become a go-to place to shop for Vashon’s community.
The Granny’s Attic staff consists of many volunteers and workers, including the thrift shop’s assistant manager Barry Cooper.
“Granny’s is a nonprofit organization and is run by its one hundred plus volunteers and volunteer board,” Cooper said. “They decide and vote on Granny’s mission, grants, workforce and general well being. Their biggest challenge is deciding where the money that comes in will go.”
From 1976 until present, Granny’s Attic has raised and donated over 2.2 million dollars to various organizations on the island and continues to do so to uphold their mission statement.
“The money goes out through grants to other health related island nonprofit organizations like Vashon Youth and Family Services, Vashon Food Bank, and the DOVE Project just to name a few,” Cooper said. “In all, last November a total of nine organizations put in for grants totaling 132,250 dollars.”
Alongside the store’s financial management are a number of tasks necessary to keeping all components of the store running smoothly. And with such a large pool of workers, the store has become a community of moving parts which help in all aspects of the business.
“It is like a stage play or Broadway show where you have to get many people that have different jobs and talents to work together,” Cooper said. “Everything needs to be accomplished by the time the curtain opens.”
Granny’s also provides a resource for young people to explore and be creative. Junior Ava Stephenson, who often shops at Granny’s, feels that the store has helped her expand her eye for fashion.
“Thrifting has definitely helped me develop my personal style,” Stephenson said. “It pushes you to consider items and styles you wouldn’t typically reach for. I’m always more likely to thrift items that feel more personal to my style.”
Being a second hand store, Granny’s is also very accessible to all community members on the island.
“What I love about Granny’s is that it’s affordable, and has a smaller inventory,” Stephenson said. “When I visit larger chain thrift stores I’m often overwhelmed by the amount of options. Granny’s has good variety while maintaining a manageable shopping experience.”
With its community driven mission and carefully chosen inventory, Granny’s has become a unique part of the island. Mead Gill, a VHS graduate who grew up on Vashon, explained the special place Granny’s has in his heart.
“Granny’s is a cornucopia of treasures and knick knacks and is the perfect spot for last minute penny pinching Christmas gifts,” Gill said. “Overall it’s just such a beautiful place the Vashon community gets to share.”
Cooper recognizes the significance of the contributions Granny’s Attic makes to the community, and takes great pride in his work.
“I too have found working for Granny’s to be enjoyable as well as rewarding,” Cooper said. “Probably the most rewarding job that I have ever had knowing how many have been, are currently, and will be helped by the mission and work of this organization.”