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'Let's shop!' IAM celebrates grand opening of new thrift shop

IAM board members Sharon Tirrell, Rhona Reagen, Rachael Jackson and Rick Merrill and Executive Director Elizabeth Willson Moss celebrate the opening of the agency’s new thrift store on Jack Street. IAM board members Sharon Tirrell, Rhona Reagen, Rachael Jackson and Rick Merrill and Executive Director Elizabeth Willson Moss celebrate the opening of the agency’s new thrift store on Jack Street.

Board members, business leaders, donors and friends of Interfaith Assistant Ministry applauded the traditional cutting of a red ribbon on Friday to mark the grand opening of IAM’s new thrift store on Jack Street.

Around 60 people attended the ribbon cutting, the kick off a two-day grand opening celebration, which continues Saturday with $5 hot dog lunches and snow cones, beer and wine tasting and storewide sale of 20 percent off.
IAM’s executive director, Elizabeth Willson Moss, praised the contractor, Cooper Construction, the chief coordinator of the project for IAM, board President Rick Merril; the bank lender, the thrift store’s manager and employees and IAM volunteers.
“This is Trey Ford with Cooper construction and I cannot ever tell you how much they helped us,” she said. “Boy, did they help us. They had all sorts of Covid delays and other supply chain delays and bureaucratic delays, they got up through all of them and saved us money. We are very, very grateful. This man, Rick Merrill is incredible. He oversaw this project. He was here every day for two and a half years.”
Thrift store manager Kathy Yaw, “who we stole from Belk’s,” has designed and stocked the floor with help from Terry Thompson, whom IAM hired as a consultant to get the shop up and running.
And Moss especially thanked Tony Amatangelo, a longtime IAM supporter and volunteer who made a large donation to get the thrift shop open in memory of his wife Allison Amatangelo.
“IAM is honored to dedicate our store to the memory of Allison Amatangelo, a teacher, master gardener and long-time supporter of the crisis services work IAM does to assist children and adults who are hungry, need clothing and need help with other basic needs,” Moss said.
Immediate past President Rachael Jackson, the rabbi at Agudas Israel Congregation, recalled how Allison nudged Tony into IAM volunteerism.
“She encouraged him to find a passion in volunteering, which sounds lovely,” she said. “Actually, it was a little more telling of just how much she knew her husband. We’ve heard that she said to him upon retirement, ‘I know you’ve spent your career managing people. I don’t want you to start managing the household, so go out and find some volunteer work.’ With that directive, with expertise and a giving heart, Tony did just that.”
Merrill said: “Years ago, in a strategic planning session, we realized that we needed to create a dependable steady cash flow to help us with operations. And back then we made the decision that when we could we were going to build a thrift store. Another side benefit of his store: Instead of giving away to others rip stores, some of the good stuff that was donated to us we can now sell it and help generate some operating revenues.”
Amatangelo praised Merrill for his leadership and Yaw for the floor plan.
“Really if you look inside, it looks better than most department stores,” he said. “She's done a super job. I’d also like to thank our executive director, Elizabeth. She pulled all this together. It doesn't happen without the board and her pulling it together.”

“All I can say,” said United Community Bank executive Fair Waggoner, “is, we’re a community bank, this is a community treasure and I’m blessed and honored to be able to help. Let’s shop!”

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Thrift Store donations may be dropped off at the store’s side door 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and at IAM’s pantry door 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday. Financial donations can be made on line at or by mailing a check to Interfaith Assistance Ministry, PO Box 2562, Hendersonville, NC, 28792. To volunteer, call 697-7029 to reach the volunteer manager or email