Photo Information

A military spouse fills her tote during the Backdoor Boutique hosted by the Armed Services YMCA aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s Tarawa Terrace base housing area, Dec. 2. Participants lined-up around nine in the morning to shop for products such as kitchen wares, home décor, clothes and toys.

Photo by Pfc. Nik S. Phongsisattanak

Service members save big at Backdoor Boutique

2 Dec 2011 | Pfc. Nik S. Phongsisattanak

There are many ways that people can save money while shopping. Some of the most popular methods for saving are using an arsenal of coupons, or bidding for products online, and there are those who wait for days like Black Friday to empty their wallets.

Patrons that did not mind waiting, gathered outside to gain access to the collection of donated goods at the Armed Services YMCA last Backdoor Boutique of this year, Dec. 2.

The boutique is located aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s Tarawa Terrace base housing area.

“If I wouldn’t buy it and put it in my house, I would not put it in the boutique,” said Barbara Robinson, program director with Armed Services YMCA. “If I wouldn’t put those clothes on my children, I wouldn’t have them hanging on the racks. We check everything to make sure nothing is broken or dirty.”

Items such as clothes, toys, linens and decorative pieces are some of many things stocked for the event.

“We have a lot of toys put out right now because it’s nearing Christmas,” said Robinson. “It’s great to help the families, especially around the holidays.”

Doors opened for the event at 9 a.m. and closed at noon, but there is typically a buildup of military spouses waiting for the doors to open.

“I understand the hardship, being a military spouse myself,” said Robinson. “It’s a really warm feeling to know that little-ol’-me is able to help the families that need support.”

Participants could either donate $30 and receive a tote or $10 and receive a brown bag to fill up with the items they wanted.
“I found out about this event through a friend and I’ve been coming (here) ever since,” said Edna Allison, a military spouse who attends the boutique regularly. “I try not to ever miss this event. Even when I had my baby, I came here when he was two weeks old. My house is filled with items I get from the boutique.”

“I told (Allison) to she needs to stay home and take care of herself after she had the baby,” said Robinson. “But she’s married to a motivated Marine and it trickles down.”

According to Robinson, the number of patrons who attend this event has grown exponentially, and the boutique is also a way for participants to enjoy a day of hunting for merchandise.

Allison said she had back surgery and she bought a therapeutic pillow worth $500 for $5 at the boutique.

“Being a housewife and being home with the kids is what I spend a lot of my days doing,” said Allison. “This is my shopping time. It’s my happy time and it’s great. There are things here that I’ve wished to have but couldn’t afford, but when I come here I’m able to get them. This year I’ve gotten a lot Christmas presents for my nieces and nephews, as well as my mom.”

Unlike the typical swarming and hording displayed in most stores during blow-out sales, the ASYMCA conducts and hosts their event in an orderly fashion, allowing a limited number of patrons to access their building at a time so people do not create a mass of chaos. To make things fair for those waiting in line, items are restocked before a new group is let in.

“If we can do stuff to put a smile on a few faces – I’m happy,” said Robinson. “I want to thank all of the military spouses for their support, because without their support, we wouldn’t exist.”

For more information on Armed Services YMCA, call 450-0497 or visit