Thrift store owner reflects on 40 years in business
DOVER, N.J. (AP) — As the owner of Morris Thrift Store, Stan Busch gives new life to the unused and forgotten. Now Busch is ready for retirement, and his store must retire with him.
Morris Thrift Store is slated to close after 40 years in business. No official sale has been confirmed, but Busch, 70, said he is “90 percent sure” the new owner, who plans to replace the store with a slew of retail shops, will pull through by the end of the year.
The shop has been a discount haven welcomed by many residents during its four-decade lifespan.
When a man from a nearby home for senior citizens entered the shop recently, Busch and his wife, Maria, found him the perfect suit - then refused to charge him.
“I’m sure people are going to miss this store,” said Busch, praising the countless organizations and residents who have donated to his business over the years.
Most thrift stores sell clothing, but this mom-and-pop shop houses much more: TVs, Native American drums, mattresses, antique books and enough furniture for a least a dozen homes.
Filmmakers sometimes scour the crowded aisles and packed shelves for movie props, Busch said, and even famed comedian Uncle Floyd pops in every few weeks to purchase records.
An avid record collector and music lover, Busch often shares that love with his customers, playing tunes from his 30,000-record collection for all who visit.
Flipping through old photos, the couple reminisced about an older gentleman who would enter the shop and dance along to the tunes playing on the record player.
It seems the store’s closure is “a sign of the times,” said longtime patron “Antique Bob” Ricciotti of Randolph.
“It’s a shame that places like this have disappeared,” he said.
Evolution has come to downtown Dover, Busch said, and many businesses have not survived as internet giants like Amazon monopolize the retail world.
Busch said age is not the only factor in his decision to close. Turning a profit is tough when property taxes are high and prices must remain low for needy customers.
Mounting costs have put the couple in a tight financial spot. Profits barely cover the cost to run the thrift store, and Busch said he’s forced to live almost entirely on his social security income. He plans to retire with the funds he makes from the sale of his store.
“We’re not making any money anymore,” he said. “We just pay bills.”
A longtime Dover resident, Busch said he looks forward to retirement and catching up on his reading.