Former Woodward parents Johnnie Schulz and Alice Weaver saw a need for a thrift store at Woodward Academy to sell used books and uniforms. The two ladies went to Mr. John Randolph, president of the Booster Club, and presented their idea of starting a thrift store. Mr. Randolph’s immediate response was “it won’t work,” but the two ladies were not swayed from their conviction. He agreed to give them a chance.
Mrs. Schulz ran consignment shops during her years as an Army wife, so she was ready to hit the ground running. In the summer of 1976, the school gave them space in the old infirmary building where they set up shop. They opened for business a few weeks before school started in the fall of 1976.
The Thrift Store was set up so people could bring in used books and uniforms and leave them on consignment. The items were then priced by the Thrift Store staff starting at half price for the items in good shape and the price would decrease from there depending on condition. When items were sold, the Thrift Store kept 10% of the sale price and the remainder was paid to the consignor.
Donations also were welcome. Donated clothing had to be clean to be sold so the volunteers would take the clothes home, wash them, and bring them back in to sell. All donation proceeds were kept by the Thrift Store. All proceeds collected were then donated to the Booster Club.
The shop was open every weekday two to three weeks before school opening and then on Mondays during the school year.
The first year was a little slow but once word got out business began booming. As the store grew over the next few years, it was moved to the house on Hardin Avenue behind the Lower School which also housed the Kindergarten/Pre-Kindergarten. Business continued growing, and the store was given more rooms in the same building. Hugh Weaver built more bookshelves and hanging space.
The ladies who worked in the store volunteered their time. The first group included Johnnie Schulz, Alice Weaver, Roses Longino, Jan Smith, and Ann Kitchens. There also were student volunteers who helped during the weeks before school started as they were very familiar with the books.
Johnnie Schulz stayed until her daughter, Lisa, graduated in 1979, and the family moved to Texas. Alice Weaver worked in the Thrift Store until her youngest of five children, Kristen, graduated from Woodward in 1988. Alice's daughter, Cathy Weaver, graduated from Woodward in 1973 and began working at Woodward in 1977. Cathy is currently the Campus Services Manager.
Beth Kempe was a longtime volunteer in the Consignment Shop and founder of The Uniform Project. She has two children who graduated from Woodward. The Uniform Project was started in 2010 when Beth realized that many unsellable uniforms were being thrown away that had plenty of wear left in them. Beth thought someone somewhere could use them, and contacted area church mission groups. Soon these groups were taking the clothes with them on their overseas mission trips to schools and orphanages. A lot of these children had not been able to attend school without a uniform. The Uniform Project has now grown to include many more private schools in the greater Atlanta area.