Something that began out of necessity has become a tradition for Sylwia Krawczyk. For the past 13 years, she has been a guest of The Salvation Army’s Nairn thrift store in Winnipeg. 

At first, she frequented the store because it was one of the few places she could afford as a newcomer to Canada. But over the years, she fell in love with the store and continues to go multiple times a week.

“I really like the service and the people. It’s very clean, everything is organized, and it has a nice atmosphere. Even now that I have a job and I am financially stable, I still like to go,” Sylwia says.

During her weekly runs to the thrift store, Sylwia likes to look for any interesting items she may find; however, she mostly shops for clothes.

Proof of her longtime loyalty to the thrift store is her 10-year-old son. The staff at the store got to know Sylwia when she was pregnant. They now fondly remind her of those times whenever she comes in with her son, who will be a teenager in a few short years.

“It’s My Passion”

One of the staff members that recalls those times is the store manager, Espie Robles, who has held the position for the past 28 years. Throughout her time with The Salvation Army, she has witnessed many cases like Sylwia’s and loves to hear success stories from store guests who were able to overcome past struggles.

Helping people out is what Espie loves the most about her job.

“You hear from the guests about past positive experiences with The Salvation Army. I believe in what The Salvation Army stands for and in helping communities in need. I just love what I do; it’s my passion,” Espie says.

Positive Experience

Adding to her own success story, Sylwia not only shops at the thrift store but she also contributes to it, frequently dropping off donation bags with household items, clothes or toys her son no longer uses. She wants to give back and help, especially during these times of increasing inflation.

“I notice more people coming to the thrift store. I’ve even heard from some people that because everything is so expensive now, they can’t afford other retail stores,” Sylwia says.

Due to her positive experience, Sylwia recommends the thrift store to people any chance she gets and visits the thrift store whenever she can. She plans to continue with this tradition, that at one point supported her when she was in need.

For more information about Salvation Army thrift stores, visit

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