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Shoppers help out cancer patients at Little Neck store

A guilt-free spending spree awaits bargain hunters at Little Neck’s American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, which features low prices on secondhand merchandise and proceeds that fund cancer research.

“It’s worth the trip to come here and support the fight against cancer,” said Helen Handelman, the store’s manager for 11 years. “I just want people to know why we’re here and what we are here for.”

The Northern Boulevard thrift store, which has been in Little Neck for 17 years, is full of cast-off treasures at cut-rate prices — with frequent discounts offered on top of marked prices.

The American Cancer Society once operated as many as five Discovery Shops in Queens, but the Little Neck location is the only one left. All profits from the store’s sales go to funding cancer research and assisting cancer patients.

Handelman said the thrift store had a devoted clientele, due in part to its ever-shifting collection of one-of-a-kind items.

“They love what they see, and they love that every day they see new things,” said Handelman.

A pair of barely worn Anne Klein pumps went for $7 on a recent visit, while a new-looking Old Navy parka was priced at $12.50. Nearby shoe shelves featured bargain prices on Bruno Magli and Ann Taylor footwear, and the store’s racks had several fur coats in excellent condition.

Handelman proudly showed off the store’s designer corner, which had a Jones New York pantsuit for $35.

“Sometimes we get brand new (clothes) with the tags still on,” she said.

In addition to men’s and women’s clothing, the Discovery Shop has housewares, linens, costume jewelry, paintings, handbags and even small appliances.

The store accepts donations of those items for sale, but also accepts financial contributions to the American Cancer Society in memory of cancer victims.

The store is staffed by volunteers, including a 95-year-old woman who works the cash register.

“It’s a very pleasant, very friendly atmosphere to work in,” said Handelman, who added that volunteers were always needed to work at the store.

The store’s winter clearance sale, which starts Feb. 23, will feature winter coats for $5 to $25; assorted clothes, shoes and handbags at a price of $10 for four items; and winter designer merchandise for 75 percent off.

The American Cancer Society Discovery Shop is at 253-24 Northern Blvd. in Little Neck. The store is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with donations accepted Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until 2 p.m.

For more information, call 718-631-0296.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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