-First published on Discover Parkland–
There’s a new shop worth talking about on Garfield Street.
The thrift shop Gossip is the newest addition to the retail stores lining Garfield and it’s got a flair of its own to make a name for itself in Parkland.
The shop opened its doors on Feb. 23 and owner Laura Wlodarczyk’s empathetic touch to business makes the shop worthy of its name.
Beyond the racks of colorful clothes, wedding dresses, homemade garments and even the occasional snowboarding gear, Gossip has begun to set itself apart from other thrift stores.
Only open since February, the shop’s owner has already started to give back to the community.
The thrift store will take absolutely any item of clothing. “Clothes don’t get thrown away. Absolutely not,” she states.
Every item of clothing is used in the store or redistributed to local businesses, churches, and shelters. Saint Vincent, another thrift store on Pacific Avenue, is a frequent donation partner.
Even if clothes are ripped or worn out, Wlodarczyk makes sure they find a home. The well-loved items that don’t have any use in thrift stores are donated to senior centers so they can be made into quilts.
“If someone was in need, I wouldn’t be opposed to helping them out with clothes” she says.
Wlodarczyk’s community-conscious way of running her business has started to make an impact in the surrounding neighborhood.
This is evident through increased business from local residents and PLU students who come to try on and donate clothes. And the items that do make the cut for Gossip are sure to be well cared-for in order to earn a spot.
“My goal is to have people come in and have fun, really like what they bought, and to be happy with the price,” she says.
For Wlodarczyk, the best part of running her own business aside from getting to set her own hours is the people she meets.
Originally from Roy, Wash., Wlodarczyk began looking for vacant shops to open her thrift store when she stumbled upon the location on Garfield Street, just below the Garfield Center apartment complex.
Her sister found a spot in Auburn to open up her own thrift store and just a short time later, the two found the space on Garfield Street.
“It was like it was meant to be,” Wlodarczyk smiles. “It was just adorable!”
The idea for Gossip was inspired by Wlodarczyk’s history in retail. She and many of her family members have dedicated years of work to the Nordstrom franchise.
Like many other local businesses, the shop has the influence of family members to attribute to its success. Wlodarczyk’s children and niece often come into the store and help out and even some community members have become employees.
Gossip employee and local Parkland resident, Stephanie, stumbled upon the shop and found a fun environment where she felt right at home.
“I had worked in retail before, and I found it very stressful,” she states. “This is a much more relaxed environment. It’s a lot of fun!”
Another of Gossip’s distinctive features is the prices. Stephanie asserts that she often hears customers note how even Gossip’s pricier items seem to be less expensive than other those in other thrift stores.
The one hesitation Wlodarczyk confesses of her new business is her fear of how the shop will fare during the summer months.
Her apprehension is grounded in the worry of losing business from the PLU students who leave campus in the summer.
“I keep getting warned by other business owners,” she admits.
However with an increase in foot traffic from local Parkland residents, she has faith that Gossip will survive the warmer months.
She is also hoping that students will bring clothes they need to get rid of before they move out.
The quirky thrift store with a one of a kind community-minded business model brings its own flavor to Garfield Street.
Above all, Wlodarczyk thinks that the clothes speak for themselves. “There’s always fashion treasures at Gossip,” she says. “You can always find something here.”