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February 26, 2020
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St. John’s Helpful Shop finds a new home

When the women of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist first opened their thrift shop, it was solely to raise money for a new carpet.

Sixty-five years later, the shop has become a major means of outreach for the church, supporting numerous nonprofit organizations across the Monterey Bay area.

But this summer, the shop was forced to leave the space in Capitola Village it had been at for all of those 65 years. With only a 30-day notice, volunteers were suddenly scrambling for a new location to move.

“It was really emotional,” said shop manager Diane Scofield. “We’d been there for so long. We were really sad to leave that community.”

St. John’s Helpful Shop found a new home this month at 246A Center Ave., just around the corner from the Episcopal Church in Aptos.

The space had previously held The Word Shop, a small bookstore owned by Alliee DeArmond that had been there for more than 20 years. DeArmond, a member of the parish, approached Scofield about the use of the space, as she had decided to close the bookstore.

“So far it’s worked out great,” Scofield said. “We’ve certainly felt supported by this community already.”

St. John’s Helpful Shop offers shoppers an eclectic choice of clothing to decorations and homewares. On Tuesday morning, Aptos resident James Clark, who lives just down the street from the shop, came in to drop off some items — everything from music boxes to hand-painted plates.

“We’ve gotten a lot of people just stopping by like that,” Scofield said. “People are interested. They seem excited about us being here.”

In 2018, the shop helped support organizations such as Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, Native Animal Rescue, Homeless Services Center and more. The deadline passed in December for groups to apply for 2019 grants; a committee will soon come to a decision as to what organizations will receive them. On Feb. 17, the grants will be handed out at the Helpful Shop Grants Luncheon.

Volunteers are currently needed at the shop — Scofield urges any community members interested to contact her at [email protected] or 332-7711. The shifts are only a few hours long, and can count as community service in some cases, she said.

“It was hard to leave Capitola,” Scofield said. “But we’re so happy to be open again. Hopefully we’ll have just as much success here.”

St. John’s Helpful Shop is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For information, visit

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