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Around Aspen: Thrift Shop and PBS

Mary Eshbaugh Hayes
Thrift Shop ladies are Johnnie Alderfer and Rett Harper. (MEH)
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Once a year, the ladies of the Aspen Thrift Shop treat themselves to a luncheon at the Hotel Jerome in recognition of the days and weeks and months they spend volunteering at the shop. They exchange gifts at the luncheon ” funny gifts that they bought at the Thrift Shop.

This year the Thrift Shop is raising $2 million to build a new building, in the same place beside the Aspen fire station. Sue Kolbe, president of the Thrift Shop, recently wrote a letter to the editor reminding the community that the cost of the new building is not included in the bond issue passed for the construction of the new firehouse on East Hopkins Avenue. The Thrift Shop is dependent upon private donations to rebuild and continue its work in support of valley nonprofits.

A $200,000 Challenge Grant has been given from the Gates Family Foundation, but the grant must be matched by the community. So far, the Thrift Shop has raised two-thirds of the goal with more than 300 people and businesses donating.



The Thrift Shop has been a community asset since 1949 with the ladies sorting and selling used clothing and furniture and housewares at very low prices. The money earned all goes to valley nonprofits.

Staff members of Rocky Mountain PBS came to Aspen to tell about the community television station and to encourage Aspenites to help with their fundraising. Noe Congdon hosted the reception for station president and general manager James Morgese, development director Suzanne Banning and Gail Busby, manager of planned giving.




Morgese told the gathering that Rocky Mountain PBS was started in 1956 in Denver and is a major source for the arts in America. (Don’t we all enjoy those musical and literature programs?)

He said the station creates its own programs, as well as buying from other producers. He reported that Rocky Mountain PBS has opened a communication link at the Aspen Institute so people can do interviews from Aspen and not have to travel to New York. The station wants programs with Colorado content. “We take anything that’s good,” he said. “We want to help people tell their stories.” The contact address for Rocky Mountain PBS is 1089 Bannock St., Denver, CO 80204 and the telephone is (303) 620-5662.

Undercurrent … I love the way people, without thinking about it, still use expressions that originated when our country was new. Like “Out West,” “Back East,” “Down South,” and “Up North.”