The Humble Hare is a boutique thrift store associated with Mountain Valley, a local nonprofit hospice and palliative care organization. All store proceeds provide hospice care and related services to those in the community.
Mountain Valley, which serves 18 counties in North Carolina and Virginia, offers a wide range of hospice care, serious illness services, and grief support. The nonprofit provides charity services to those who cannot afford care, and nobody is turned away based on their ability to pay.
Kelly Jennings, Mount Airy store manager, said the store, previously called Mountain Valley Resale Shoppe, was rebranded and moved to its current location in Mount Airy in October of last year. There is also a sister store located in Sparta. The store was rebranded to The Humble Hare benefiting Mountain Valley Services.
Audrey Cassell, Mountain Valley’s digital media manager, said the store elevated itself with the rebrand, clarifying the purpose of the store while advertising a boutique shopping experience.
The store’s inventory, which offers thrift-store prices, comes from new and gently used donations such as clothing, jewelry, furniture, home decor, and housewares.
The Humble Hare is run by volunteers who serve in a variety of roles, such as donation specialists, movers, and drivers. Currently, the store has 14 volunteers and a part-time associate.
Jennings said they are always looking for more volunteers. Running the store with the help of volunteers minimizes expenses, allowing more money to go to Mountain Valley’s charity services. “It’s a pay-it-forward kind of atmosphere,” she said.
Mountain Valley provides approximately $400,000 to $500,000 of charity care. Cassell said the goal of the stores and other organizational philanthropy efforts is to raise enough to cover this cost and fund additional services.
Volunteers and staff stage the store into sections to feature different pieces, rearranging the floor often to reflect the current inventory selection and seasonal items.
“Every time someone walks into the store, they might see a completely different layout,” Jennings said. “You can come Monday and then come back Friday and it’s a completely different store.”
Sheryl Athorne, a part-time store associate, said she enjoys working in the store and interacting with customers. “It’s fun,” she said. “I really enjoy our customers.”
Jennings said The Humble Hare’s volunteers participate in a variety of community-involved activities on a regular basis, from conferences and festivals to taking part in events such as fundraisers and blood drives. She said she has personally seen an abundance of pride coming from the community for the store and its mission.
During some of these community events, they set up pop-up stores to reach a wider audience with a selection of the store’s inventory. The store also runs a variety of promotions, typically around major holidays, throughout the year.
The Humble Hare offers free pick up for donated items and offers delivery for purchased inventory for a $35 fee.
Cassell said many donations come from families of loved ones who have recently passed away in hospice care. “When people have a loved one that passes, removing their belongings from the space is emotional and can be a very challenging task,” she said. “It’s hard to clear out that room or that house. If they know that donating those items to us could benefit other hospice patients down the road, it might make it just a little bit easier to do that job.”
She said many shoppers are repeat customers, and some return because of the care their loved ones received in hospice care in the past. “It’s incredible to hear the stories of what our organization does,” she said. “A lot of people shop here and donate here because of the experience that they’ve had with hospice.”
Athorne said she decided to apply at the store because of her experience with hospice care with a loved one in the past. “I’ve been there, and so to see people coming in where I was just a few years ago—it’s just kind of a full circle moment,” she said.
Jennings said by working at the store, employees and volunteers provide much-needed support to the community. The store’s Facebook account attests to this community, boasting 6,000 followers and high post engagement. (Follow “The Humble Hare of Mount Airy” to join the conversation!)
“When you come to our store, we’ll hug you and tell you we love you,” she said. “It’s like a big 6,000-people family.”
The Humble Hare is located at 705 W. Pine Street, Suite 300, in Mount Airy, NC. They accept donations during business hours, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Inventory and new arrivals are posted daily to the store’s Facebook page. Cassell said the best way to check inventory, prices, and to see if the store can accept a donation is to call during business hours. For information about shopping, donating, or volunteering at the store, call (336) 789-1230.