May 11, 2022 Breakfast meeting notes, with speaker Sue Jehl Breakfast meeting notes
Due to a last-minute loss of venue, we had to shift our morning meeting from in person to Zoom.  We had a great attendance, and thanks to everyone for the quick change.
Steve Rand announced that Alex Ray and Susan Mathison will be traveling to Poland for 5 days to meet with a Poland Rotary District delegation.  Another Rotary District from NH will also be going.  Alex Ray has also set up a special donation account through the United Way, and Alex and The Common Man have pledged to match donations made through them for Ukraine assistant up to $1,00,000.  Thank you Alex!
Steve also mentioned that a new Montgomery Spruce tree has been planted in the Common.  The tree was donated by Shin-Boku Japanese Nursery in Wentworth NH.  Check it out, it’s a beautiful tree.
Sharon wanted to thank the scholarship committee, Peggy Smith, Denise Castonguay, Lora Miller, Nancy Dyer, Tony Fitzherbert and Renee Brusseau.  They met on Monday and finished going through the scholarship applications and have awarded 2 students the Skip Van Sickle Technical Scholarship award, and 8 students the Plymouth Rotary Scholarship award.
Today, Susan Fitzgerald’s speaker was Sue Jehl, form Ladders and Step Ladders
Ladders has been so popular that they explained to a second store called Step Ladders, and have gone from 7 people to 18, including 3 full time staff.
Parking has been a problem for Ladders, shopper pop in, browse and leave, and with the up coming water and sewer project on south main street, it won’t be any easier.  The old Community Guaranty Savings Bank, now Mid State, does allow Ladders to use the south end parking lot, but not sure what will happen after they open their sports medicine program.
No matter what, thrift shoppers will find a way to get there.  They have many out of state shoppers and donors, and have been able to create a system for this.  The donors can drive-in on south side of the building, there is usually staff ready to remove the items from the car, and the vehicle can pull around the building and leave.  It’s a great system. 
Finding clothing that meets the requirements is a problem, not everything donated can be resold.  Ladders has been working with a garment company who takes rejected clothing as waste rags.  Ladders gets paid by the pound.  Ladders is willing to take your donations as rags if needed, or Sue is happy to provide you with the contact info so you can contact the garment company directly.
Not long ago Ladders was audited by the NH Department of Labor – this was a very interesting experience.  They did not have any issues, but were educated on how to properly supervise, and assign work for volunteers.  Based on the rules, volunteers cannot do the work that hired help can.  Sue said she gets many offers for volunteers but struggles at times to figure out what kinds of jobs to assign them, and set rules so hired help does not do those jobs.  It’s a challenge, but she is figuring it out.
When Ladders first started they were doing about $20,000 per month, now the numbers are double or triple, especially now that Step Ladders moved into the old NAPA building across the street.
Step Ladders Theme is NH Woodlands and have decorations and displays along that theme.  The store carries all seasons year round.  There are lot of world travelers coming through the stores and there is something for everyone, any time of year.  In addition, items are used by local theater and drama programs for costumes and props. 
Many of the higher end items are online, mostly electronics but there are some antiques as well.  Has an employee with eBay experience handling the online platform.
They will also open a new location in the New Berries Vintage store on Main St soon.  It will have home goods, cooking items, etc.  Items will be sold by New Berries staff, not Ladders.
Sue is very grateful for wonderful neighbors, such as Six Burner Bistro and Rite Aid.
Their store is open to everyone, and items are meant to be touched and played with in the store. 
Last year they had 35-40 volunteer hours per week, and were mostly college students, schools kids, and court assigned adult volunteers.  The college students and court assigned volunteers just don’t have the spark that someone else who wants to be there. 
They are open 4 days per week, and 3 days are used for clean up and set up for the open days.  Cannot afford more paid help. 
Anyone interested in more information about Ladders and Step Ladders call Sue at 603-254-5682.
Sue had a special story to tell about our Rotarian Peggy Smith.  Sue loves Rotarians and this is why.  Peggy knew that one of Sue’s grandchildren need a special brand of baby formula call Nutramigen, and Peggy found some in Gilford NH and purchased it for the baby.  Sue is reminded of how generous and thoughtful Rotary members are.  Peggy is a long time member and we are all very proud of this.  Thanks Peggy!
Sue is also looking forward to the annual Penny Sale, which is currently planned to be held on the first Saturday of November.  Ladders has been collecting stuffed animals for the “petting zoo.”   Its super cute, we can’t wait to see that again!
Rotary - Upcoming events:
Saturday, May 21st is Circle Camp clean-up day from 10AM to 2pm, lunch will be serviced to all volunteers.  Please let Denise, Beth or Sharon know if you can help out.
Denise acknowledged that the Club will be putting on the Penny Sale this year, and it appears the High School Interact Club may run the Plymouth Got Talent themselves.  We will maintain the cost to keep the URL for the website in case we need it again. 
We are looking for nominations for Plymouth Rotary Citizen of the Year.  Let Denise of Braden know if you have someone to nominate, including a short bio.  This person/people go above and beyond for their community volunteer work.  There will be a presentation at our annual Changing of the Guard in June.
Speaking of Changing of the Guard, Save the Date:  Wednesday evening, June 22 and begins at 6pm.  The Changing of the Guard will be held at The Barn on the Pemi.  The Changing of the Guard is a special evening for Rotarians and their guests to enjoy a nice dinner, entertainment and pay tribute to our outgoing President, Denise Castonguay and congratulate our incoming President, Braden Smith, as well a change of Officers and Board Directors.  It’s a wonderful evening.