2019 Civitan Blog

Too often animals are neglected, injured, and abandoned. We are fortunate to have several compassionate organizations in the Denver Metro area that are working hard to end pet homelessness and animal suffering. They shelter, feed, and enrich our adoring animals while they are waiting for a loving family to go home to.

The arc Ambassador Civitan Club wanted to do something to help these wonderful organizations and to make these animals more comfortable as they wait for their forever families. To do so, at our last meeting, the Club made over 100 chew toys that will be donated to several animal shelters in the Denver area. The material for the chew toys came from recycled t-shirts from arc Thrift Stores.

Normal Club business was also attended to at this most recent meeting. President Michelle Knight opened the meeting with leading the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the Civitan Creed. Kyle Knoeble, our club treasurer, made several announcements including inviting everyone to the Ambassador Halloween party on October 30th. We heard a few words from Bernie Funk, the new Civitan area director, and we welcomed a new member to our club, Ryan Maly. Jeff Alexander offered to do artwork for the Civitan International Christmas card, and we elected Marlene Glimm as our new secretary, with Emily Waldo standing in as backup. The Rocky Mountain Civitan Club also provided all the Ambassadors with Halloween goodie bags.

If you are interested in helping animals in the Denver area, there are many items that are needed at various animal shelters that keep the animals happy, healthy, and most of all adoptable. Items include dog and cat toys, canned wet food, dog or cat treats, blankets, and towels. If you would like to donate needed supplies or volunteer at The Denver Animal Shelter go to  https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-animal-shelter/get-involved/volunteer.html or at the Dumb Friends League, https://www.ddfl.org/volunteer/.


Halloween Blog #3 Sanderson Sisters /Mark McDaniels

Hocus Pocus, the silly, over-the-top comedy, is a Halloween classic and one of our favorite movies. The three main characters – played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker – are hilarious, campy, and wickedly funny. The witchy threesome is also the inspiration for some AMAZING build-your-own costumes created by our very own Mark McDaniels.

Mark has been with arc for over 5 years. Mark’s job is to merchandise for our stores. He is responsible for the new Halloween product buy as well as a member of the new store opening team. But Halloween is his favorite! Mark and his partner in artistic endeavors, Gerta Thompson, spend months searching the country for the most amazing Halloween costumes and décor. They attend Halloween shows every year in January to find the hottest in Halloween trends. This literally takes months and a lot of devotion. But the result is that our 30 stores are literally bursting with Halloween delights!!

When Mark isn’t ensuring that our cauldrons are stocked to ghoulish perfection, he is creating amazing Halloween costumes from items found from the aisles of arc. This year he outdid himself by designing three fabulously frightful creations based on the Sanderson Sisters, the three witches from Hocus Pocus.

“I love that Winifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson are so off beat,” Mark said. “I love that their outfits, and their hair and their makeup are over the top and outrageous; this makes creating Halloween costumes based on them all the more fun because I get to embrace that wackiness and really run with my imagination.”

But Mark is also a stickler for detail. Each character has definite and recognizable features (such as Winifred’s red hair, the vacuum Mary carries with her, or the capes the three sisters wear) and he’s very careful to include them.

He spent hours visiting just about every arc store along the Front Range and each of the fiendish build-outs incorporated both new and donated items. And, sometimes pieces of a costume came from unexpected places. The bodice on Winifred’s costume, for instance, was actually created from a table runner Mark found in the Domestics section of a store. Her cape was made from a donated graduation gown and a segment of drape. For her amazing hair, Mark used a new wig but then teased and styled it to look just like Winifred’s crazy mane!

Here’s the breakdown of how Mark waved his magic wand to create these lovelies!

Winifred Sanderson:

  1. Striped tights (new)
  2. Dress (donated costume)
  3. Bodice (created from table runner)
  4. Gloves (cut and designed from new spiderweb tights)
  5. Cape (from a graduation gown)
  6. Hooded cape (added to cape and made from a piece of drape)
  7. Black boots (donated)
  8. Jewelry (donated)
  9. Red wig (new, but then teased and styled)
  10. Wig cap (new)
  11. Large book covered and decorated with spooky images (embellished)
  12. Makeup palette (new)

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 12.28.35 PM

Mary Sanderson:

  1. Striped leggings (donated)
  2. T-shirt (donated)
  3. Vest dress (donated costume then cut and redesigned)
  4. Two flowing skirts (donated)
  5. Cape with hood (donated)
  6. Black shoes (donated)
  7. Jewelry (donated)
  8. Dark wig (new, but then teased and styled and adorned with ribbon)
  9. Wig Cap (new)
  10. Vacuum (donated)
  11. Makeup palette (new)

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 12.29.04 PM

Sarah Sanderson:

  1. Striped tights (new)
  2. Dress (donated costume)
  3. Scarf belt with coins (piece of donated costume)
  4. Cape (donated)
  5. Black shoes (donated)
  6. Jewelry (donated)
  7. Long blonde wig (new, then teased and styled)
  8. Wig cap (new)
  9. Broom (donated)
  10. Makeup palette (new)

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 12.29.33 PM



The candy’s great and everything, but to us what’s REALLY fun about Halloween is the costumes!

And, not just any old costume. At arc we have a special place in our hearts for creepy and frightfully awesome build-your-own creations, for Halloween get-ups that are inspired by the imagination!

Building your own Halloween costume – whether it’s scary or silly, based on your favorite celebrity or TV character or purely fantastical – might seem a bit daunting. But we’re here to tell you it’s really actually quite easy! It’s as simple as going to your local arc, grabbing a cart, strolling the aisles, and then letting your imagination run wild! And, the good news is that because you’ve thrifted it, it won’t scare your bank account.

Here are a few particularly great costume creations we came up with when we were at the Louisville store. And, the treat of this trick is that each one of these cost less than $25!


If the world can’t have this wonderful man with us now, at least you can dress up like him!

  1. Gray pants
  2. Belt
  3. White shirt
  4. Tie
  5. Cardigan
  6. Gray wig
  7. Wig cap
  8. Tennis shoes
  9. Dress shoes

arc_Pinterest Halloween Costume Boards Mr. Rogers-11


Just because the show is over doesn’t mean you can’t fangirl all over Khaleesi.

  1. White graduation robe (sleeves turned inside)
  2. White dress
  3. Gold belt
  4. Silver high heels
  5. Black brooch
  6. Long blond wig
  7. Wig cap
  8. Toy dragon

arc_Pinterest Halloween Costume Boards Khalessi-12


This master of the Happy Tree is the personification of creativity!

  1. Jeans
  2. White button down shirt
  3. Belt
  4. Tennis shoes
  5. Curly wig
  6. Wig cap
  7. Painting
  8. Paint brushes and a palette

arc_Pinterest Halloween Costume Boards Bob Ross-09


Scream queens are always popular!!

  1. Pink dress
  2. Pink high heels
  3. Silver tiara
  4. Pearl bracelet
  5. Purple bracelet
  6. Crystal bracelet
  7. Long blond wig
  8. Wig cap
  9. Makeup palette

arc_Pinterest Halloween Costume Boards Zombie-10

Make sure to check out our Pinterest page to see full build-outs.  https://www.pinterest.com/arcthriftstores/halloween/diy-halloween-costumes/

2019 arc Thrift Stores Halloween

When there’s a bit of a chill in the air and there’s a hot pot of soup on the stove, it can only mean one thing: HALLOWEEN is almost here!

We LOVE Halloween with everything we’ve got here at arc! It’s our favorite time of the year and we simply cannot get enough of the pumpkins, witches, goblins, fairy princesses, and superheroes! From the spooky to the sweet, we love every trick and every treat! In fact, we spend nearly an entire year preparing for this season of fun; we go on buying trips all over the country to find the BEST and most on-trend costumes and décor, and we gather our most inspiring minds throughout the year to brainstorm wacky creations so we’re there to help our customers build their own costumes!

For us, Halloween is all about imagination. The sky’s the limit!

It’s about finding a big oversized jacket in the men’s section, a sparkly pink dress in the women’s section, a pair of biker boots from the shoe department, dangly earrings, a tiara, and a package of ghoulish makeup…and BOOM! You’ve got a Zombie Prom Queen! (Best part? You’ve spent less than $25!)

arc Halloween 3

Or, it’s a simple green sweatshirt from boys for only $3 that you take home and bedazzle, adorn with felt, and transform with your own artistic talent into the cutest Ninja Turtle ever!

Is the movie Hocus Pocus your fav? Grab your besties and be transformed into the Sanderson sisters with a simple wave of a wand…and some inspirational finds at your local arc!

And, if you’re hosting the annual Halloween party, arc is the perfect place to get what you need. Whether it’s a kids’ party, a neighborhood potluck, or an adults-only get-together, we’ve got a ton of spooky Halloween décor! Everything from spiderwebs for a haunted house to faux pumpkins for your front steps to a seasonal garland for your mantel. And, if you need a crockpot for a stew to feed all your friends or an extra-large bowl to hold all your candy for all the trick or treaters, we’ve got that, too!

Our cauldrons are full…and the prices won’t scare your bank account! Come by any of the 30 arc Thrift Stores along the Front Range – each one a Halloween Headquarters – for the state’s largest selection of everything you need to make this a ghoulishly fun time of the year!

Ambassador Spotlight: Donna

For the past seven years, Donna has worked in the production department racking shelves at the arc store in Arvada. She loves working in the back section of the store and hanging out with her lovely coworkers. One of Donna’s favorite parts of working at arc as an Ambassador is that she gets to take all of the Arc University classes and go on the excursions with her friends and fellow Ambassadors.

Donna was part of this year’s graduating class from the Arc University program. She attended every single class offered throughout the year and loved every minute of every class!

Donna all of the Arc University classes, but in the end, she says that the course on gardening was her favorite. Donna’s other Arc University treasured moments include a trip to the movies to see Jurassic Park and going sailing, boating, and fishing. Donna’s most memorable Arc University trip was to see money being made at the Denver Mint.

When Donna isn’t at the arc of Arvada store or on a field trip with her fellow Ambassadors, she loves to take long walks and hangout with her friends outside. If it isn’t nice enough to walk outside, Donna loves to hang inside and color in her adult coloring books.

If Donna had to pick, she would be hard pressed to decide on just one superpower. She wished to have a flying car that could drive her to and from work super-fast, and that could take her to get ice cream if she was craving something sweet. She would also like to see into the future, and because she has a positive optimistic outlook on life she knows that everything will be just fine!

“I love my job,” Donna says. “There is not one thing I do not like about it, and there is not one thing I would change about it.”

Screen Shot 2019-09-26 at 9.59.22 AM

Ambassador Spotlight: Bobby

Bobby works at the Arc of Arvada store, stocking bric-brac and moving shelves around throughout the store. Bobby has worked at arc for the past eight years after working at the Green Mountain store. He made the move to the new store because it was a much easier commute.

As Bobby stacks shelves and unloads all the intricate items, he loves to chat with customers and make new friends with the employees like his friend Donna. He recently graduated from Arc University and loves when he and his classmates get to go on a movie adventure for the day.

Bobby loves to be as helpful as possible around the store. You may recognize him working near the showcase and helping customers find exactly what they came in for. Bobby never shies away from introducing himself to a new friend or customer to see if he can make their day just a little bit better.

When asked, Bobby said that if he could have any superpower he would love to be able to fly to and from work in seconds. He would use his new-found free time to be with his friends and to take more Arc University classes.

arcs and Crafts: I Paint, Therefore I am


One of my cardinal rules when shopping at arc Thrift Stores is to take my time in the furniture department and not disregard something based on paint or wood condition at a surface level. If I see something with a great shape or great bones, I try to look past any blemishes because things can always be refinished or painted.


I found some great pieces of furniture this summer at two of my favorite arc Thrift Stores and both needed some love. One of them was a long, low dresser that had a really amazing drawers with interesting wood grain but the top was damaged.


I don’t have the skills to totally refinish furniture yet, but I know enough to fill in gouges with wood filler and then used paint over top. I painted just the damaged part and left the beautiful drawers alone. I love how the white background makes them stand out even more.


The following week I found two vintage patio chairs across town at another arc Thrift. The bases had some rust on them but I liked the shape and the brand.


Spray paint is an invaluable tool when beautifying furniture. I did a couple quick coats and these guys are good as new and ready for cushions.


Never judge a piece of furniture by some minor boo-boos. Keep an open mind at arc Thrift Stores and you will be amazed at what you find.


2019 arc Hero: Elleana Tate

Elleana Tate began working for arc in 2011. She has worked at a number of our stores: the East Colfax location, the store on South Broadway, and now at the Littleton store. Elleana’s visual impairment hasn’t stopped her one bit. The bright lights of the Littleton store make it easy for her to do her job ragging out clothes in the children’s department. But, she’s also relied upon a great deal by her team; she greets customers with her sunny smile and warm personality every day, and she’s always busy working on the sales floor and assisting in the accessories department.

Elleana is a friend to all: her supervisors, her buddy, and her peers. She makes a special effort to learn everyone’s birthdays, their children’s names, and even their hobbies. She attends Arc University and many of the social events, most especially the dances where she loves to dress up and cut loose to any song by Christina Aguilera. She loves her church family and the gospel music they sing. She is also quite the artist and is hardly ever without her sketchpad. It is through her watercolor drawings that this creative soul is able to express herself.

2019 arc Hero: Mark Yoakum

Mark has been with arc for over six years, and since that very first day, the Parker Landing store where he works has gleamed like a bright new penny! He loves to keep things neat and tidy, and nothing makes this 27-year-old happier than being useful. When he isn’t assisting in the B&B department, you will find him with a broom and dustpan, straightening out the aisles. His favorite task is to bring in donations and to hang new clothing items and then take the unused hangers back to production.

Mark loves attending Arc University. He enjoys bowling with his friends, music and dancing, and participating in many sports. Although he is not very verbal, he communicates brilliantly with his bright smile and joyful personality. In turn, arc has given this hard-working young man a purpose and a sense of independence that his parents say have changed his life for the better.

2019 arc Hero: Elnaz Sobhi

Elnaz has been working for arc since 2015. The Centennial store’s sales floor is a well-managed place thanks to her efficient approach to running the clothing racks and her cheerful personality. Elnaz is very active in the Arc Ambassador programs, where she has made countless friends. She is also the secretary for the arc Ambassador Civitan International volunteer group, another area where her steadfast commitment and enthusiasm come in quite handy!

Elnaz is one of our first Ambassadors to be admitted as a student to Arapahoe Community College, via a program supported by IN! – Colorado Initiative for Inclusive Higher Education. She loves campus life, but it’s the family she’s created at arc that has encouraged her to spread her wings and that brings her the most happiness!