‘Here’s where my heart is’: New thrift store lives off its owner’s compassion


Ellen and Richard Reed and Ruth Jameson join chamber members for the official inauguration. | Catherine Stachowiak

Residents attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the newest thrift store in Lake Isabella early Saturday morning. Isabella Thrift/Multipurpose Store introduced a large inventory right from the start.

Owner Ellen Reed explained her inspiration behind her store.

“I like to try to provide things at a reasonable price,” she told the Sun of the Kern Valley. “I love shopping at thrift stores, myself. I’ve always wanted to open my own thrift store, and this happened.”

The store offers many sizes of clothing, including baby clothing, children’s clothing, and men’s and women’s clothing. The store also offers a wide selection of shoes, jewelry, collectibles and antiques. Electronics, VCRs, CDs, lots of used toys and old books round out the selection, Reed said.

Reed credited her husband and mother for her ability to open and has been preparing for her opening for about a year. She said her husband, Richard, was particularly insistent that she live out that dream.

“He was the one who let me do this,” she said. “He brought me to this building. He found the establishment.”

Ruth Jameson, Reed’s mother, helped, working alongside Reed, helping him sanitize the inventory.

“My mom is a big help,” Reed said.

Reed, a former special education teacher, applies her professional compassion to running the thrift store.

“She was very good at teaching people with autism [students]Jameson said of her daughter, acknowledging her hard work with children with special needs.

“I loved my students and still do,” Reed said. “I just changed lanes. This is where my heart is right now. I would love to see this city come to life after COVID.”

Reed hopes her own daughter will help her at the store.

Reed said his store accepts cash and will soon get an ATM. She said it would take a few weeks for the ATM to be in place.

“Cash only until I get my machine,” she said.

Reed will accept donations on Saturdays and Mondays only and cannot allow donated items to be left at the door of the thrift store. For more information, call 661-205-3524. The store is located at 2211 Alta Sierra Ave. at Lake Isabella.

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