The several rooms that make up Brand Spanking Used along Colorado Highway 131 in Oak Creek are packed.
In one room, there are Ziploc bags of children’s toys high and low. In another, a library that rivals the town’s is ready for purchase at a couple dollars per book.
PEZ dispensers and fishing lures mingle with jewelry at the main counter.
In the middle stands Janine Pierce, smiling and laughing easily in the middle of her creation.
Janine, the creator and owner of Brand Spanking Used, has lived in the Yampa Valley for 12 years and operated the store in the heart of Oak Creek for nine years.
Although there is a wide variety at the store — children’s clothes from 50 cents to $3, pants for $5 — there are some items missing. Those are the goods she bundles up and donates to local and international charities.
Some shoes go to children in Tanzania. Blankets and pet items go to a shelter in Yampa. Spanish-language books with English translations go to a school and library in Guatemala. And when the need is there, the items from the shop stay in Oak Creek.
“There’s always a tragedy in town, there are always tragedies. We have houses that burn down or families who are really in need,” Janine said. “I have always said I open my doors and say, ‘Come, take what you need,’ and I believe that comes back tenfold.”
As a donation-based shop, Brand Spanking Used also benefits from the kindness and loyalty of the Oak Creek community, reselling items like gently used hats and pink boas.
“I think I’ve been extremely blessed. The downturn of the economy has obviously promoted — without me doing a thing — has promoted reduce, recycle, reuse,” Janine said. “I have wonderful, wonderful donators who I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for their donations.”