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RE owners closing New Minas thrift shop

Sisters Rachel Aalders and Eve Rowsell are prepping for the final day of business at RE used resale Co-op Ltd in New Minas Sept. 9.
Sisters Rachel Aalders and Eve Rowsell are prepping for the final day of business at RE used resale Co-op Ltd in New Minas Sept. 9.

NEW MINAS – Their store is closing, but sisters Eve Rowsell and Rachel Aalders are calling it a day knowing the RE used resale Co-op Ltd made a difference.

“It boils down to the fact that we were evaluating our lives and what was important to us. We both have young families and, quite frankly, the last four years are a bit of a blur. Our stress level had been pretty high for quite some time and we had been thinking about our choices,” said Rowsell in a recent e-mail to Kings County News.

“We are not complaining - we created it after all - but we had to take a good look at what we were doing, rather than just keep going along.”

The second-hand shop at 8759 Commercial Street in New Minas, more commonly known as simply RE, is slated for closure following its final day of business Sept. 9. There will be clearance sales offering at least 25 per cent off and 45 per cent off orders ringing in at more than $25 to help move inventory leading up to the closure.

Rowsell said they have mixed emotions about walking away from the business they built from the ground up, but they both agreed that “something had to give.”

“Our aunt, who was one of our best friends, was 50 years old when she died from cancer. She was an amazing woman - truly beautiful. We are still processing everything around that and, as a lot of people can probably relate, something like that changes the way you look at life,” Rowsell confided.

“There is no one single reason we are choosing to move on. There are literally hundreds of things that went into the decision, but we think that our aunt's death probably helps us grasp that time is finite. Our kids are getting older, and we aren't getting any younger.”

Rowsell and Aalders won the Mobius Award for Environmental Excellence as Small Business of the Year in 2015 for their work with RE. They would love to see a local non-profit group start a similar community-minded shop to keep useful items out of landfills, and resell donated materials at affordable prices.

“It is a bit easier knowing that there are alternative places to drop stuff off now. When we opened, RE was the only place offering a donation drop for things other than clothes, so we felt a lot of pressure to keep that available and keep useful items out of the landfill.”

Rowsell admits the days leading up to the closure have been nothing short of surreal, but they find comfort in knowing there were people out there who truly appreciated what RE had to offer.

“Along with being a resource for people on a budget, it was also just a nice, friendly spot. We have been told some great stories by people who have found things in the shop that are meaningful to them for whatever reason,” she said.

“Sometimes we would hear the most interesting or heartfelt things about these inanimate objects that could have easily ended up in the landfill.”

Rowsell estimates that RE has kept “tens of thousands of useful items” that would have otherwise been tossed in the trash out of the landfill since the day they started a makeshift shop out of a garage.

They’ll move forward with their lives taking comfort in the certainty that RE truly made a difference thanks to the vast network of supporters that helped them turn an idea into reality.

“Many people donated and bought over the years and, as we come to a close, we are really feeling (their) emotional support too. We appreciate those that helped RE grow along the way, donors and customers,” said Rowsell, extending a “huge thank you” to the employees as well.

At the end of the day, Rowsell said she’ll remember RE fondly in the years to come.

“We had an opportunity to follow through on an idea rather than wonder 'what if,'” said Rowsell.

“We saw a need and figured, 'let's try to do what we can, rather than nothing at all.' We are proud of what we built and it's nice to know RE will be missed."

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