A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Downtown beat: Another restoration’s complete

Written September 14th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

Almost finished, the restored façade of 411 Second Ave. S.W., home of the “1st Hand Seconds” boutique, looked like this on Wednesday.

It was four years ago that “1st Hand Seconds,” a downtown women’s second-hand clothing shop with a mission, moved from one historic Albany address on First Avenue to another, on Second. Now it’s ready to celebrate the remodeling of its 1929 building with a Saturday open house.

The business is the fundraising arm of Mercy House International Inc., an  organization that, in the words of manager Colleen Anderson, “assists women and children in our community and beyond.”

Back in 2019, I got interested in the shop because it had announced plans to purchase and restore its building then, a project which would have removed the notorious “cheese grater” metal façade from 415 First Ave. S.W. That project fell through and the business moved one block south instead. The metal façade on First, a relic from the 1960s, is still there.

The remodeling for 1st Hand Seconds, now at 411 Second, was done by Pyburn & Sons, which in a separate project is also restoring a similar historic building next door, on the corner of Second and Ferry Street.

The plywood in the second floor windows of 1st Hand Seconds was to be replaced before this coming Saturday. Behind those windows, there’s an elegantly decorated room holding the store’s ample selection of wedding gowns. Some were donated, and others are on consignment.

In an email this week, Anderson wrote: “We are planning an open house style grand reopening, fundraiser, anniversary party this Saturday, Sept. 16, from 5 -8 p.m. Anyone is welcome. We will have food, drinks, games and prizes as well as a silent auction, all to benefit Mercy House. Proceeds from the fundraiser expand the resources and financial assistance we can provide to women and children at risk. People can also take a short self-guided tour to see the beautiful changes inside the boutique, upstairs and down.”
Bit by bit, Albany’s old downtown has been restored in recent years. This is another step as one old building after another gets a new life. (hh)

Manager Colleen Anderson inside 1st Hand Seconds Unique Boutique on Wednesday.


Upstairs, there’s the store’s selection of wedding gowns.

One response to “Downtown beat: Another restoration’s complete”

  1. CHEZZ says:

    The hard work Downtown is paying off with shops coming in while paying close attention to our heritage details!


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