Friperie Karma is the gift that keeps on giving

By Taylor McClure – Special to Brome County News

To mark the holidays, Friperie Karma, operated by mother-daughter duo Annalise Milroy and Tammy Lace, decided to give back to the people who have supported them along their journey. Milroy decided to dip into her donation funds from sales of clothing, books, craft items, and electronics, to provide Secret Santa presents to her adult and children shoppers.

Not long ago, Milroy also made a bursary donation to two students at Massey-Vanier High School to help prepare them for their higher studies.

“My mom does her sales and mine are separate so I can’t really do monthly donations, that’s why I did the bursary,” said Milroy. “I save for about half a year and once I decide that I have a large enough amount to make a donation, I will donate.”

Milroy couldn’t decide if she would do a scavenger hunt in the Knowlton village or Secret Santa and decided to conduct a poll on Friperie Karma’s Facebook page. “I asked our customers if it would be better to do a Secret Santa or a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt would have involved little gifts all over town with a letter and it would have been a bit complicated. The Secret Santa was voted for by all of our customers.”

A registration form was set up at the store for customers to sign up their children, the age limit was between infant and 16 years old, with their name, age, and interests, and Milroy based her shopping around that list. “Our budget was $50 per child. At first, I wasn’t sure what my budget was and if I could buy a gift for every child, but it turned out I was able to and I still have a surplus of money.”

Milroy and Lace had three or four shopping sprees before they finished off the list. “We bought toys for a round 100 kids, but the total we spent was $5,599.”

Dec. 17 marked the last day that people could pick up their gifts, with some parents allowing their children to open their present early. “Some kids have already opened their gifts while others are waiting for Christmas, but they have been showing us their reactions. It’s just fun.”

With the surplus of money, Milroy decided to spoil her adult customers too.

“I thought I’d say thank you to our customers who aren’t kids. All they would have do is comment on a photo of their favorite purchase on our Facebook post. We would mark their name down and on the 27th of this month we will pick names at random and give gifts cards to local businesses and restaurants,” she explained. “We will give $1,500 out in gift cards. We have Chez Moi Chex Toi, which is probably the furthest out. We have IGA, the local SAQ, Buzz Café, the Relais, Centre Beauté, just to name a few different stores.”

Friperie Karma has been open for two and half years and it just keeps on thriving in its mission to collect used goods and sell them with almost all profits going back into the community. “A good estimate would be $93,000 donated within the last two years. We are baffled by it, we really are. People congratulate us and we say thank you, but my mom says it all the time, it’s the customers’ store, its everyone’s store. You come in and see your items and what you donated. None of this would be possible without the people who donate and the people who shop. The community has been absolutely amazing.”

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