A new initiative at Rusty Crickett’s Coastal City Cottage is helping local customers shopping at a local business help a local charity.
Help Us Help Bradenton is the newest venture for the nine-year-old business nestled on the corner of 15th Street West and Sixth Avenue West in downton Bradenton.
“We were just brainstorming,” said Terri Liss, who runs the store with her mother and sister and a small handful of help. “We’ve always done this on a small level.”
A donation box sits outside the entrance to the 1920s house with a flier on the monthly charity and the items most in need. Customers who bring in donation items will get a 10 percent off coupon at Rusty Crickett. When the customer redeems the coupon and gets 10 percent off, the 10 percent will go toward the local charity, along with the donation items.
The first charity is the Humane Society of Manatee County. Donations of food, treats, toys, globes, paper towels, garbage bags, small blankets and other similar items will earn a customer their coupon. Those are some of the items the Humane Society is looking for all-year round, said Hildy Russell, the financial and communications director for the Humane Society.
“We are always so grateful to any business in the community for partnering with us,” Russell said. “With the money we don’t have to spend on the things that are donated, we can use that to save the lives of more animals.”
Liss said she’s seen a good response so far, even though the month of June got off to a little bit of a slow start. July donation will benefits M.O.T.S, or Mansota Operation Troop Support, which sends care packages to local members of the military.
Customers who become like family have been integral in helping Liss find different charities and organizations to support with this. Some of Liss’ younger customers, including recent Manatee High School graduates Lauren Gilmore and Alivia Murdoch, are helping the store get some social media pages up and running to stay current with the latest trends.
“We’re learning how to do Instagram and Facebook,” Liss said. “We’re trying to get out there to our customers. But they also find us.”
Gilmore and Murdoch stopped by earlier this week to pick up new candles from the store. But before that, they leafed through some of the clothes on the upper floors of the house.
Liss is in the process of changing out some of the fashions upstairs, as graduation and prom season is over. A room of shiny shoes, bralettes and jewelry will be changed out for some seasonal choices. The “baby room” on the lower level is in the process of coming back.
“You always need a good baby gift,” Liss said.
Jewelry items by local artists hang all over the walls, and Liss incorporates some more common name brands, like Lily Pulitzer, into the selection. She’s trying to add more furniture items, as the store had its roots in furniture, Liss said.
Rusty Crickett is located at 615 15th Street West in Bradenton. The story is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday.
To reach the store, call 941-745-3131 or visit www.rustycricketts.com.