Turning trash into treasure is an easy task for many people. So is finding just the right piece to decorate your home, or a bicycle for a child, or thousands of other items – all at a good price and for a good purpose. That is, if you are shopping at the; Horry Council on Aging’s Store. (HCCOA)
Located at 1874 Highway 90, beside the Solid Waste Authority, The Store is continually being stocked with items Horry County residents throw way.
Nine of the county’s 24 Recycling and Convenience Centers have buildings where reusable items are placed by residents. They are collected and taken to the Store for resale. Items can also be dropped off at the store.
Elaine Gore, Deputy Director of the HCCOA, said they get a few things they have to throw away, but they also get a lot of good things.”
Not only does this offer fun and items of many kinds for shoppers, it provides food for homebound seniors in Horry County who depend on the Council on Aging to make certain that they eat.
In 2016, after expenses were paid, The Store produced close to $80,000 for the HCCOA’s extensive homebound meals program. Ray Fontaine, executive director of the HCCOA, said the amount they got from Store paid for about 26,000 meals.
At an event in 2016, Fontaine said the seniors are always glad to see the delivery person. “Sometimes they even cry because they are so lonely, but at least they have a shoulder to cry on,” Fontaine said.
“Sometimes it’s the only person they see all week, and sometimes it’s the last person they’ll ever see,” said Gore. “Sometimes they cry. Sometimes they are angry. The Store began as an idea of Danny Knight, executive director of the Horry County Solid Waste Authority. Knight, who served for years as Horry County administrator, said he worked closely with Fontaine, Gore and others involved in the HCCOA during those years.
When he became executive director of the Solid Waste Authority, the two relocated beach houses next to his offices and the landfill were serving as shelter homes for children. After that program ended and the houses were empty, Knight worked toward getting the houses purchased by the SWA and creating The Store.
In his office, he keeps an album showing the renovations on the house that now serves as the store’s main location. And he is a regular shopper there. “I love it. I go over there a couple of times a week. I can’t go over there without bringing something back,” he said.
“We have quality merchandise at reasonable prices,” said Sue Blanton, who manages The Store.
“And they have the best people to help you,” said Dona Uhll, a regular shopper.
Uhll said she refurbishes some items. “I help other people find things and then refurbish for them,” she said
“It’s amazing to see all the things that are in there,” said Esther Murphy. director of recycling and corporate affairs for the SWA.
“We’re always looking at ways that we can divert something away from the landfill,” she said. “If it’s got a second life — or a different way to use it — we want to give it a good life.”