What is it you need? A life preserver? A casserole dish? A bathroom sink? A travel guide to Peru?
All of these items, admittedly used – but still usable – were recently available for pennies-on-the-dollar at St. John’s ReSource Depot Thrift Store.
The ReSource Depot was a favorite haunt of bargain hunters on St. John for years before Hurricane Irma struck in 2017; after the storm, it was forced to close its doors. Then in 2019, Island Green Living Association, the nonprofit which operates ReSource Depot, was able to lease a half-acre parcel that included an old warehouse near the Susannaberg Transfer Station.
The ReSource Depot is not exactly easy to find, but there’s a helpful graphic on the Island Green Living Association’s website. Access is through the driveway at VITEMA headquarters located at the corner of Centerline Road and Route 104 (Gifft Hill Road).
Because construction to rebuild VITEMA headquarters is underway, it may be necessary to access ReSource Depot through the gate of the Susannaberg Transfer Station (informally known as “the dump”) and drive toward the right to the end of the road. A Public Works employee is always nearby to point treasure seekers – or donors who want to drop off unwanted goods – in the right direction.
With its bright paint job in blues and greens, the ReSource Depot is easy to spot. You might hear it before you see it – it is also the place where volunteers crush aluminum cans for recycling off-island.
The ReSource Depot was originally conceived as a place where unused construction materials could be sold at a drastic discount rather than be sent to the landfill. Over time, more and more household goods started appearing, then donors started bringing clothes and nick-nacks.
When it opened its new location in 2020, Kat Bodish, who had recently arrived on St. John, started volunteering. Prior to moving to the island, Bodish had a demanding career in the pharmaceutical industry developing clinical trial vaccines. She chose to move to St. John “to explore a different aspect of myself,” she said and found her calling at the ReSource Depot. In August she became the thrift store manager.
“Kat’s doing a phenomenal job,” said Harith Wickrema, president of the board of Island Green Living Association. “She’s brought it to a new level; we’re very fortunate to have her.”
Under Bodish’s skilled hand, the store has expanded to include several containers filled with construction materials, clothing and household items. “Everything that you need is here,” she said. “This place keeps helping it go around.”
The ReSource Depot has now become a veritable destination; within an hour on one weekday morning, a steady stream of St. John residents drive in to drop off items or to shop.
Jerry Mace, the owner of Dave & Jerry’s Island Steakhouse, donated several cartons of glassware left in a trailer by the previous tenant.
Sharon Phinney, who was volunteering with a team on the aluminum can crusher, took a break to look through a container of women’s clothing. “It’s always fun to look,” she said.
Bodish has plans to offer workshops on a variety of topics, including small motor repair and crafts classes using recycled materials. She hopes the site will host a program to teach children how to grow food.
Island Green Living has ambitious plans for the site. It has purchased a wood chipper to process wood into mulch through a grant from the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands and is developing a program for community composting.
Anthony Novelli, who serves as the operations manager, is spearheading these programs.
The ReSource Depot is currently open Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., but the hours may be expanding. Call 340-473-7870 for further information.
In the meantime, if you need golf clubs, a child’s bike with training wheels, roof fasteners, bathroom tiles, lighting fixtures, paint, a suitcase, mirror, wetsuit or fancy purse, you know where to look.
While we’re on the subject of recycling and sustainability, in honor of Earth Day, Island Green Living Association is holding its “Two Tickets to Paradise” Raffle to keep its programs going.
There is only one grand prize – a week’s vacation for two which includes air ticket vouchers for up to $1,000; a seven-night stay at Gallows Point Resort in a spacious, one-bedroom ocean-view villa, with access to amenities including pool, Jacuzzi, etc.; a one week car rental; dinner vouchers to several of St. John’s finest restaurants; and boat trips including sunset sails and a trip to Lovango Cay Resort and Beach Club.
Tickets are $50. The drawing will be held on April 30.