Pat Weidinger and Clara Black have been volunteering side by side for the past 25 years, working on quilts at the Golden Hobby Shop in German Village.

Pat Weidinger and Clara Black have been volunteering side by side for the past 25 years, working on quilts at the Golden Hobby Shop in German Village.

"When you're as old as I am and blessed with as many things as I am, you give back," says Weidinger, 83. "It's a joy just to be here with friends and be able to finish something beautiful."

Added Black, 87: "The chat you have around the quilts is enjoyable."

Volunteers are the bedrock of the Golden Hobby Shop, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, 30 of which have been in German Village at 630 S. Third St. More than 70 volunteers keep the consignment shop running.

"Without them, we could not exist," said Patty Parker, president of the shop's board of trustees.

Per tradition, the shop will participate in the annual Mother May I event Saturday, May 7. Many German Village stores will give away complimentary gifts to mothers and offer special discounts. The hobby shop will give away a small bag of candy.

Parker said she hopes Mother May I will remind people that the shop remains open.

When city officials announced budget cuts two years ago, they said they would be closing the Golden Hobby Shop, which is run through the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.

Parker said the board of trustees negotiated a deal to keep the store open with a minimal subsidy from the city. She said it is difficult to tell whether the store's reputation suffered, but the confusion didn't help matters.

"We close every January for inventory, cleaning and that type of thing, but we never closed like the city said we were going to," she said.

Also, the shop has had trouble getting noticed in the neighborhood. She attributes that to lack of proper signage and people not understanding the mission of the store.

The Golden Hobby Shop got its start in 1971 at 906 E. Broad St in downtown Columbus. Mel Dodge, former director of the department, decided in 1981 to move the shop to its current location because it had outgrown its original space.

The shop occupies the old Third Street School, a 14,418-square-foot building built in 1864. It is basically a consignment store that charges a 20-percent markup on merchandise, which ranges from hand-woven bags to necklaces to sports bric-a-brac. Ohio State curios, understandably, are among the store's best sellers. It's also known as a place to buy clothes for American Girl dolls.

All of the goods must be handcrafted, new and made by someone who is at least 50 years old.

Consigners must pay an annual fee of $30 to sell their items at the shop and their work is displayed for a maximum of a year. They can have no more than 12 pieces on sale at one time.

Retiree Tom Arrigo, whose wooden plaques, furniture and toys are on sale at the shop, also volunteers one day a week.

"I'm happy with it," said Arrigo, 68. "It gives me something to do and keeps me out of trouble."

Terri Leist, assistant director of recreation and parks for Columbus, had high praise for the hobby shop.

"For so many years, the Golden Hobby Shop has featured the wonderful arts and crafts made by seniors across our city," Leist said. "We treasure the tremendous partnership we have with the senior artisans, but also the Golden Hobby Shop's board of trustees, who have stepped up to the plate to keep everything going in a forward direction. And for that, we are extremely grateful."