Last Sunday afternoon, Janina Stroh hosted a party for Nina Finkeldey, who retired on July 1 from 21 years as manager of the Bryn Athyn Thrift Shop. Janina’s beautiful house and garden was a perfect spot on a cool, cloudy July afternoon for the many volunteers, employees, family and friends who came to pay tribute to Nina and her amazing ways. Brenna Synnestvedt, Nina’s cousin, friend, and one of the acting BATS managers, organized the event and entertained the crowd with stories and gifts assembled by the staff. Rev. Eric Carswell was on vacation but sent a gift from the church along with a letter that reads in part:
“Thank you for your 21 years of diligent effort as the BATS manager...Thank you for making BATS a place where such a huge community of people both donated
items for sale and chose to shop.... Lastly, but not least, thank you for your role in BATS being able to supply annual financial support for Bryn Athyn Church. Since
the time you began as BATS manager the total sales has been nearly $7M, with a total “profit” of $2M.”
Nina was hired in 2000 by Ken Schauder and the BATS Advisory Board, taking over from Barbara Packer, who was in turn a successor to the thrift shop Founders – Fay Cooper, Izzy Nelson and Myra Asplundh -- who began it in the 1980s. In the 21 years since then, she worked with a team of volunteers and staff to make something that was already wonderful even better. Nina has an artistic style, a sense of warmth and community, a good business sense, and a chatty, breezy way of being that helped to make BATS a refuge and a treasure for people both inside and outside of Bryn Athyn. She brought to this work the same knack for working with people and popularizing an effort that she used at Common Ground, the very successful coffeehouse that she started and ran at the College Social Center in the 1990s. Her teary response to the party was characteristically articulate and heartfelt.
BATS and the BATS community will miss Nina, but the fun talks and good spirits at the gathering show what a great team they have working there and what a devoted community surrounds them. Way to go Nina and way to go BATS!