Library Thrift Store getting up to tech speed

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Showing off the wide selection of quality clothing and household items, recently hired Bertram Library Thrift Store Manager Connie Kaiser, armed with sales experience and technology expertise, has plans to upgrade the store’s operating systems to better serve their many loyal customers and to attract newcomers looking for bargains.  (Dana Delgado Photo)

Showing off the wide selection of quality clothing and household items, recently hired Bertram Library Thrift Store Manager Connie Kaiser, armed with sales experience and technology expertise, has plans to upgrade the store’s operating systems to better serve their many loyal customers and to attract newcomers looking for bargains. (Dana Delgado Photo)

By Dana Delgado

BERTRAM — Although specializing in quality resale clothing and housewares for over 30 years, the Bertram Public Library Thrift Store located in historic Bertram is ready to jump into the 21st Century.

New manager Connie Kaiser, armed with sales experience and technology expertise, has plans to upgrade the thrift store’s operating systems to better serve their many loyal customers and to attract newcomers looking for bargains.

“My main focus will be on getting the thrift store up to speed with technology,” she said.

Kaiser said she hopes to build a robust website and Facebook page for the Bertram Library Thrift Store to keep the public well-informed of new, current and featured merchandise, unusual holdings, and make everyone aware of upcoming sales and promotions. In addition, after the systems are updated, the thrift store will also be able to accept credit cards. Presently, only cash and checks are accepted.

Kaiser assumed her position in mid-November and felt she was “a good fit” for the thrift store, which supports Bertram’s stately library. “Seeing the service of the volunteers and all their dedication, I was moved to apply,” she said.

Originally from Bergstrom Air Force Base, the new manager moved extensively with her family until they settled in the Bertram area. Mrs. Kaiser, who resides in Burnet, has worked in management and has experience in home health care and retail including clothing. Kaiser and her husband currently own their own technology business specializing in developing websites for a host of businesses and organizations.

With a successful Christmas holiday season behind her, Mrs. Kaiser expressed optimism and looked to the New Year.

“Things went pretty well during the holidays,” she said. “In January, household items will be half-price.”

The well-stocked non-profit thrift store, fashioned like a trendy boutique, carries an assortment of items.

“We try to keep quality items that deserve a second chance,” the new manager said. “We carry clothing for the entire family as well as accessories including shoes and currently have some very nice men’s suits. We also have some great party gifts, glassware, crystal, old LPs, Elvis posters, and recently added some exercise equipment. All are for very reasonable prices.”

While all profits benefit Bertram’s Public Library, items that go unsold are donated to the Ronald McDonald House of Temple.

Another focus for the new manager is to attract more volunteers.

“We are very flexible with our volunteers and offer training,” Kaiser explained. “Besides supporting the library and serving the community, volunteering is an act of good will and provides opportunities for camaraderie with other volunteers.”

According to Kaiser, volunteers assist with either day or afternoon shifts with customer service, pricing, and sorting and stocking the merchandise. Currently, the greatest need for volunteers is for the afternoon shifts (1:30-5 p.m.) Wednesday-Friday.

“If they can smile, we will take them,” Mrs. Kaiser said.

The thrift store is operated by the Friends of the Bertrams Library, a non-profit organization dedicated to serve and support the library, which is officially known as the Joann Cole Mitte Memorial Library. Funds raised help purchase library materials, maintain the library building and support special library programs. The Thrift Store was founded in 1983 by Coral Ellen and Leo Coffman to support the critical needs of the growing but struggling local library.

The Bertram Library Thrift Store, located at 140 N. Gabriel Street in Bertram off of State Highway 29, is open for business every Saturday 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Donated items may be dropped off at the thrift store.

For more information or to volunteer call (512) 355-2609 or email Friends of BertramLibrary@gmail.com.

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