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Milissa West is combining her experience in retail, theater, event planning, and philanthropy to launch a new cinema-themed thrift shop, Second Act, and a new performing and visual arts nonprofit, the ACT Foundation.

Milissa Parsons West has found a way to combine her love of the performing arts with an uncanny knack for secondhand sales and has launched a new venture: the Second Act Thrift Store in Victor, which will support the ACT Foundation, a community arts nonprofit.

West worked at the See N Save in Driggs for 14 years and was an integral part of the store’s move from a 2,400 sq. ft. building on Howard to its current 10,000 sq. ft. spot on West Little. She said she loved getting to know the regular shoppers and watching families grow through the years.

“Leaving the See N Save broke my heart because I felt like I was letting the community down, but the management and I didn’t agree on the future direction of the store,” West said.

She moved on to become the event coordinator at the Bronze Buffalo Sporting Club at Teton Springs, and started working to found a new nonprofit, the ACT Foundation, focused on arts, cinema, and theater (hence the acronym ACT).

“I’ve participated in drama my whole life, I was in plays in high school and as an adult, I worked at Pierre’s Playhouse, and I saw a need for more kids and adults to have the opportunity to play, to pretend, to dress up, be silly, express themselves through other characters, to share joy.”

She and the foundation board are now awaiting IRS approval for 501(c)(3) status.

“The goal is to bring all forms of art back to the valley and make it accessible to all,” West said. “There’s a lot of love and interest here in bringing a community theater program to the valley. I want to restore the Christmas play, host drama classes, film fests, outdoor movies, screenwriter competitions, art in the park, everything.”

Profits from the newly-opened Second Act will support the ACT Foundation. West is thrilled to be back in her natural habitat, the thrift store.

“Running a thrift store is about creating an environment that allows people to explore, treasure hunt, and find bargains. It takes a certain kind of shopper to enjoy thrift stores, and this valley is full of them,” West said. “It’s also about recycling, reusing, helping people in all aspects. I see thrift stores as a place for good and an outlet for joy.”

Second Act is in the Togwotee Center, east of the highway on the north side of Victor. West said her landlord was extremely supportive and built out the space to fit what she needed.

“I’ve been working on this for a year. I can feel my dad’s support in this,” West said. Her father Russell Parsons, who died in February of 2020, helped her renovate past stores. “I know he would’ve wanted to be here and help build the new space. I channeled him to make this an awesome place where I feel at home and happy.”

Despite a quiet rollout of Second Act, West said that she’s gotten texts, calls, emails, Facebook messages, and people stopping her on the street to say they’re happy she’s back in action. A lot of regulars have already found their way back to browsing the aisles under West’s eye.

Second Act has a cinematic flair and will offer weekly Reel Deals, Hollywood stars for frequent patrons, and special auctions for the most deluxe donated goods. Look for news of a grand opening soon, and don’t be surprised to see a red carpet.

West said it only took two weeks to fill the store. With the leftovers from some of her past yards sales and a community backlog of secondhand goods from the pandemic, when safety concerns made donating more challenging, Second Act has plenty of stock. The store takes donations only during business hours (Monday through Friday, 10-4 and Saturday, 10-2) and no appointment is required.

“We’ll accept all quality donations in a friendly fashion,” West said. “Our slogan is, ‘Every good thing deserves an encore.’” She added that she can work with other outlets and nonprofits to rehome larger furniture, pet supplies, sporting goods, and other items that don’t quite fit in her space.

With (almost) enough staff and a supportive board, West is excited about the future of Second Act and the ACT Foundation.

“All the things I’ve done in my life feel like they’ve led up to this role,” she said. “I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped us get this far.”