Message from the Executive Director

Dear friends, 

It’s difficult to believe we have been dealing with COVID19 for over 10 months. We really dislike having our doors closed and not seeing you here participating in our programs, social clubs lunch, and events. We miss having regular hours at the thrift store and providing a fun and often necessary shopping experience to the community. The decisions to close these two very important organizations to our island, has been a very difficult and sometimes controversial. Having 90% of our staff on layoff has been extremely tough. Closing the store again after being open for 2 months was disappointing to say the least. We worked very hard to follow all of the required restrictions and modifications set forth by our Governor to be open. Unfortunately with the enormous spike in COVID cases, tighter restrictions have been extended to January 4th and have left us little choice but to close temporarily. 

Many of you want to know why other thrift stores and retail businesses are open and we are not. Here are the factors that have led to our decisions for both the Camano Center and 2nd Chance Thrift Shop: 

•    The Center cannot have social or recreational gatherings of any kind. This means card playing, singing, playing instruments, ping pong, congregate meals, arts and crafts, yoga, tai chi, group activities.   
•    Any necessary programs; Meals on Wheels, Transportation, Foot Clinic, Medical Lending Closet, Library, Grocery delivery, Adult Day,  must be done remotely or have less than 5 people present.
•    Rentals for weddings, funerals, community events, educational events, meeting spaces, or fundraising events are not allowed. 
•    The Thrift store can have only 25% of the capacity of shoppers, that can maintain 6 feet from another shopper, at all times. With the layout of our store, this means about 5 shoppers in each of the 2 buildings. We have to include the staff and volunteers in that count. So that means a lot of people wait outside to get in.  
•    Some retail operations throughout Washington are not following the Governor’s guidelines for being open. That does not make it right.  
•    Our store is run by staff and volunteers that are almost exclusively over 65 years old or have underlying medical conditions. It is not safe for them to be out with the general public right now. 
•    We must have a certain amount of staff to “monitor, supervise, and educate” others while being open. We also need those people to take donations, process and price, re-stock the store, run the cash register, bag up items for shoppers, and disinfect surfaces often. This takes 5 people during open hours. 
•    The risk to workers/volunteers is too high, and having enough consistent workers has been a challenge.
•    There is very little profit (or contribution to the Center) under the current COVID guidelines.  
•    The proceeds from our thrift store support the Center operations, which are mainly closed. We have been able to provide essential services despite being closed with donations and grants.  Stanwood Thrift store supports the community Food Bank operations. This essential service cannot be closed for our communities.  We are not one in the same when it comes to thrift stores.
•    We live in Island County. We do not have all of the same opportunities for funding and programs from the government that Snohomish, Skagit or King Counties qualify for. That’s one drawback to being part of a smaller county.

Like many other nonprofits and businesses, the COVID pandemic has hit us hard. Because our organization funds its operations and programs through proceeds of our thrift store, events, rentals, memberships, and donations, it has been especially challenging. With the temporary layoff of staff (who luckily are able to collect unemployment) we have been able to stretch your membership fees, donations, and grants to continue operating essential services to our population that need us. Since closure, your donations have enabled us to:

•    Support Island Senior Resources in administering Meals On Wheels, Aging & Disability Resources, Medical Transportation Services, Ensure Nutrition program
•    Continue our Grocery delivery program through IGA
•    Offer our Lending Medical Equipment closet
•    Offer appointments for the Lending Library
•    Call our Camano Connections clients each day 
•    Check in with Disaster Buddy participants  
•    Offer weekly Foot Clinic appointments
•    Provide our monthly newsletter online
•    Answer our phones Monday through Friday 

In addition to these services, our wonderful parking lot has been used for: 

•    Drive through graduation celebrations
•    Birthday drive through parties
•    School pictures
•    Prom pictures
•    Children learning to ride bikes
•    Children and teens skateboarding
•    Teens learning how to drive and parallel park  
•    Dog walking
•    Yoga
•    Puppy training
•    Dance recitals
•    Drive in church service
•    Bicycle and scooter riding
•    Scavenger hunts and Pokémon Go!
•    Workers taking lunch breaks and naps
•    Free Wi-Fi
•    Professional headshot photography for the Chamber Board members
•    Afternoon with Santa Drive through Free community event

Despite 2020 earning the “worst year ever” badge, this community can be very proud and celebrate going into 2021 knowing that it pulled together and helped others in a year that was difficult for us all. I continue to be so proud to be trusted to lead this amazing organization and the wonderful staff, volunteers, members, and donors involved. This is truly a very special place that is the “center” of Camano Island. Thank you for everything you do!

If you would like to help further sustain our efforts, become involved as a member, or learn more about our services, please visit our website or donate directly to

We appreciate all of you as members, former members, staff, volunteers, and neighbors! Happy Holidays to you all, and please stay safe and healthy so we can get back to gathering in the future at the Camano Center and 2nd Chance Thrift Shop!

With immense gratitude, 

Bonnie Eckley

Find Us

Camano Center
606 Arrowhead Road
Camano Island, WA 98282
(Map It)

Our Hours
Monday - Friday Closed

(360) 387-0222

Thrift Shop

2nd Chance Thrift Shop
1335 State Route 532
Camano Island, WA 98282
(360) 629-6142
(Map It)

Store Hours:  

Not accepting at this time

© Copyright 2021 Camano Center • All Rights Reserved