It is sometimes called Mill Valley’s only department store, although everything that the shop sells comes from donations from all over Marin. The Mount Carmel Salvage Shop evolved from the church’s rummage sales.
In 1950 Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church rented a former mortuary on the corner of Lovell and Madrona and converted it into a thrift shop. In 1951 the church bought the building. The church’s Women’s Club had hopes of raising enough money to help found a parochial school which was indeed built in 1955. A major remodeling of the shop in 1973 added more windows and created a spacious basement area for furniture and bulkier items. In 2004, the store replaced a wall, did some repainting, added new awnings and started a landscaping project, all funded by proceeds from sales.
The shop has seven paid staff and a volunteer corps of about 36. Each day there are two three-hour shifts: from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. It is also a recycling outlet. Items that remain unsold are sent to other places that they can help in all kinds of ways. For example certain towels and rugs are given to the Humane Society.
(This vignette of Marin history is compiled by the Mill Valley Historical Society. You can find more at MarinLocalNews.com and mvhistory.org.