WARRENTON — Peter and Patricia Fessler are closing Penny Wise Thrift Store after nearly a decade of running the shop, which supports awareness of depression and bipolar disorder.
The couple started a local chapter of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance about a decade ago after their granddaughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and they learned how little support was available locally. In October 2008, they opened the thrift store on Harbor Drive to support the alliance’s mission.
The store is mostly run by the Fesslers and volunteers, with no paid employees. Peter, 73, and Patricia, 82, have both dealt with recent health issues and are looking to slow down and do some traveling.
“I retired nine years ago, and I’ve never worked so hard in my life,” Peter Fessler said of running the store.
In 2012, the Fesslers opened Heaven Sent Boarding House at Fifth Street and Main Avenue. The boarding house rents five units to everyone from Tongue Point Job Corps Center students and nurses to a couple in the fishing industry.
The Fesslers sold the property to Marlin Larsen, who died earlier this year. The property passed into a family trust, and the Fesslers are waiting to see whether Heaven Sent Boarding House continues long-term.
The liquidation sale at Penny Wise lasts until Sept. 15. Clothing is free, and other items have been heavily marked down. The store is also looking for volunteers to help move items.
The imminent closure of Penny Wise follows similar announcements by local thrift stores supporting nonprofit groups. Impact Thrift Store, opened to support Clatsop Animal Assistance, North Coast Food Web and veterinary bills, recently closed along Marine Drive. The Harbor, a regional advocacy group for victims of sexual and domestic assault, recently announced the closure next month of its fundraising thrift store, Deja Vu, citing the financial losses.
The profits from Penny Wise barely covered the alliance’s informational materials, Peter Fessler said. The couple also invested the profits in furnishing the boarding house. But aside from supporting the alliance, the store had also become an informal support center for those living with depression and bipolar disorder. The Fesslers are hoping to find another facilitator to keep the group going and seek grant funding.
“It’s to help people living with bipolar or depression, to help them cope, (to) learn to live with it,” Peter Fessler said.