Passing the baton

Posted:  Monday, March 12, 2018 - 8:45am

Little did she know some 17 years ago when she said “yes,” that stay-at-home mom, Penny Thumith, having no background in retail management , would build the St. Andrews Thrift Store into the resounding success it is today. For Penny, it all began in a small space off the interior hallway in the Meadow Mall . It was a project she took on while working through her grief subsequent to the death of her husband, Ken.

Today the St. Andrews Thrift Store is a thriving enterprise that enables the St. Andrews Auxiliary to generously contribute to our local healthcare system, while also providing a valuable service to the community.

As Penny grooms her replacement , Carole McCarthy, she recalls that taking over the shop “brought out a new side of me - I didn't know I could do it.” She said “the community has been wonderful — donating goods, shopping and volunteering” — all of which has contributed to the success of the shop. Penny said she wouldn't have stuck around this long without that kind of support. The experience has taught her, she said, that it really is better to give than to receive and she feels good about having played a direct role in supporting St. Andrews Hospital and, later, LincolnHealth in its objective to provide the best healthcare possible to the region. But if you know Penny you know it doesn’t end there. It’s also all about the fun of volunteering and the sense of camaraderie that develops among the volunteers who work together.

Preparing to pass the baton, Penny acknowledges that “every organization needs new ideas, new blood” to keep it vital. She said of her replacement, “Carole will be a cracker jack manager,” she has lots of ideas and the energy to pursue them.

For Carole McCarthy, herself a recent widow, the opportunity to step into Penny’s oversized shoes “could not have come at a better time.” While no stranger to volunteer service, Carole said she was actively seeking something that would allow her to give more meaningfully to the community. She is looking forward to exercising her creativity and working within an organization that means so much to the Boothbay peninsula.

The St. Andrews Auxiliary and its thrift store continues to welcome new members and new volunteers. One benefit of joining the organization is the opportunity to attend three delightful luncheons per year at no cost for members in good standing.

One of those event opportunities is coming up very soon. The Spring Brunch on Wednesday, March 21, will be hosted by St. Andrews Village. Sue Burge, recent past president of the Boothbay Region Community Resource Council (BRCRC), will be addressing the membership on the topic of “Giving Hope.”

Attendees will also have the chance to meet our new store manager, Carole, and bid a fond farewell to Penny. If you are not yet a member, there is still time to join so that you can participate in the brunch. Contact Patty Calhoun at for an application, or stop by the St. Andrews Thrift Store to pick one up. Then, honor our thrift store fashionistas by wearing something from the shop to the brunch because, after all, it’s all about the fun!