By IAN TULLY
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Winter in the North Country can be difficult without the right clothes.
Fortunately, sisters Lori and Julie Woodley are helping people keep comfortable.
Julie owns and operates DressCode, a consignment shop at 17 Bridge St., and the clothes that she doesn’t sell are donated to organizations such as the Adirondack Humane Society’s thrift shop, One Worksource, the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity Community Outreach program and St. Mary’s Mission Center in Champlain.
Lori is the one who sorts and distributes clothes to these organizations and to local families going through hard times.
“It’s my mission to make sure to that these clothes are not thrown into a landfill or inaccessible to people who need them,” Lori said.
DressCode sells apparel and accessories on consignment — the people who bring them in are given 40 percent of the purchase price. However, a large amount of items do not fit the tastes of its customers and cannot be sold.
Rather than watch those items get thrown away, Lori works to make sure they go to people who need them the most.
“Sometimes people do not have a dime, and they need jeans, a shirt and some sneakers. They are clothes that people do not want, and I find people that want them,” she said.
Unsaleable garb at DressCode used to go to The Basement, a companion store that had been located beneath the Bargaineer, also on Bridge Street. But The Basement closed in April.
The process has become more fine-tuned over the ensuing months — Lori now keeps a list of sizes and clothing articles that local families need.
She said some people need a suit and a tie to find a job and get back on their feet, and others need winter coats.
“I see clothes now and think, ‘Oh I know who would want that.’”
As a mother, former nurse and substitute teacher, Lori said that helping is in her nature and that she wouldn’t know how to stop even if she wanted to.
“Being a mother was my career, and my kids are grown,” she said.
Lori estimated that she helps distribute 50 30-gallon plastic bags of items each month, and each week she spends 15 hours sorting the clothes and making deliveries.
BOOST FOR SHELTER
Not Necessarily New is one of two thrift stores that raise revenue for the Adirondack Humane Society, and the store receives a large volume of donations from DressCode.
Kristine Cheyne, the store’s manager and a volunteer, said that every week Lori brings in between eight and 15 bags of clothes, shoes and purses.
“It certainly helps the community. Their donated clothes are sold at a discounted price, and we make money for the shelter in the process. We donate some of the clothes to people who have been through some sort of disaster or domestic violence for free.”
Cheyne said people from every part of the spectrum come into the store, from college students to families and their pets, and some regulars come on a daily basis. She said they are always tickled by the DressCode’s donations and that those clothes are easy to distinguish from others.
Cheyne appreciates Lori’s effort.
“She is always very upbeat and very friendly. She feels good about what she is doing,” she said.
“I think the world of her.”
Apparel from DressCode will be given away from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at the North Country Food Co-op on Bridge Street in Plattsburgh. DressCode generates its own clothing for the donation effort - the shop does not accept any apparel for the purpose.