The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

February 23, 2009

On the Bright Side: Used clothes raise funds for scholars

By Denise Richardson

Nathan and Alma are ready to model some gently used clothing for Regalia shoppers at SUNY Delhi.

Regalia, a retail venture, offers extended life to clothing and also has raised more than $13,000 for scholarships at the State University College of Technology at Delhi, organizers said.

The shop started in August 2003 and was the brainstorm of four SUNY Delhi employees sharing compliments and comments about a blazer bought at Silks and Treasures, a consignment store in Oneonta that sells used clothing.

Barbara Kaplan, assistant to the college president, said she was among the ``founding mothers,'' along with Pam Peters, SUNY Delhi library director, who was wearing the blazer; Bonnie Martin, director of administrative services; and Suzanne Puffer, retired secretary to the president.

``We had no idea what would happen,'' Kaplan said. ``It's hugely successful.''

The store's stock includes dresses, jeans and other clothes, shoes, ties and assorted accessories, she said.

``We often get clothes brand-new with tags,'' Kaplan said.

When the store opened, items were given a range of prices, but now they are sold for a dollar, and SUNY Delhi students receive a second item free.

Martin recently donated two vintage dress forms _ Nathan and Alma, according to a SUNY Delhi newsletter, Delhi People.

``The old dress form, Nathan, belonged to my grandfather and came from a tailor shop in Manhattan,'' Martin said in the newsletter. ``Alma was custom made to my mother, who made her own clothes. They were just hanging out in my father's basement, so I decided to give them new life.''

SUNY Delhi President Candace Vancko supported the venture and guided it into becoming a permanent fundraising effort for the college, Kaplan said.

The store is on the third floor of Bush Hall, and Farrell Hall renovations will include space for Regalia, she said. The name Regalia is a reference to the academic attire of caps and gowns.

The store has about 30 volunteers, Kaplan said, and students are becoming more involved, which allows Regalia to be open longer.

She said hours when the school is in session are from noon to 1 p.m. weekdays, plus 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; and from 1 to 3 p.m. on some Saturdays this semester. Plans are being made for a website that will post hours, Kaplan said, and the store is open to the public.

For more information, call the president's office at 746-4090. Kaplan said the stock is reviewed periodically, and unsold items are given to charities, such as the Salvation Army.

Some cotton clothes that have stains or otherwise aren't wearable are turned into rags and given to the automotive, carpentry and veterinary departments for student use, Kaplan said.

``It's really been a fun project,'' she said.

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If you have good news you'd like to share, call Managing Editor Cary Brunswick at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 217; fax him at 432-5707; e-mail him at cary@thedailystar.com; or write to him at P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820.