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Grass Valley's "Sweet Life Thrift" Offers Twist On Thrift Store Model

June 1, 2019

In 1995, Carolyn Maginot was working a lot in the local theater scene, and she was tired.


A Nevada County resident for two years, Maginot didn't consider all the energy she was exerting until she started noticing drastic weight loss.


"I lost about 60 pounds over a six month period," she said.


At first, Maginot thought it was just because of all her activity. Soon, though, her symptoms grew worse. Maginot found herself having to go to the bathroom a lot, and needing water all the time. It wasn't until the thespian became exhausted on her daughter's birthday that she realized she might have diabetes.


Her fears were confirmed when Maginot's blood sugar level came in at 250. According to the Mayo Clinic, a fasting blood sugar level of less than 100 is considered normal.


Today, having stabilized her health, and having worked for years at two local thrift shops, Maginot is merging her two loves — thrift shops and helping others with diabetes — with her new store, Sweet Life Thrift. The title, meant to playfully describe the importance of the relationship between sugar and diabetics, wants to not just provide trendy clothes and nice linens, but also offer community support for those suffering from diabetes.



Maginot is hoping to open the store within the next few months and is currently taking donations, particularly books, children's clothes and hardware.


Sweet Life Thrift will use the CancerAid model to help diabetics, covering the cost of anyone who enters the store and is not able to afford their insulin, glucometers or testing strips. In addition to providing necessary medical materials, however, the store owner also wants to augment the social structure for diabetics, including support groups and diabetes educators.


"Building a team for yourself is the most important thing a diabetic person can do," Maginot said.


According to a study of California in 2016, about three percent of Nevada County residents have diabetes, and 54 percent of Nevada County adults are prediabetic.


While Sweet Life Thrift might be the first store specifically trying to help diabetics in the area, it is certainly not the first thrift shop to open in Grass Valley. Main Street, as Maginot describes, is essentially "thrift shop row." As to avoid saturation, the new store owner decided to open at a location a bit less frequented by thrift shoppers – 144 Hughes Road.


Even with the nearby density of thrift shops, Maginot says, there is no reason for competition. As the store manager explains, each store has different merchandising and pricing. In other words, the thrift shop game is not zero-sum. Check out the website at https://www.sweetlifethrift.com.


- Sam Corey, Staff Writer at The Union: https://www.theunion.com/news/local-news/sweet-thrift-offers-twist-on-thrift-store-model-in-grass-valley/

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