History of Soroptimist International of Anacortes

Our club’s humble beginnings were built on the dreams of a few hard working women who laid their own resources on the line for the greater good of the whole community.


Soroptimist International of Anacortes was chartered by the Metropolitan Club of Seattle in June 1948 with 23 members. These were business women representing just about every type of industry in Anacortes.

After adopting by-laws and appointing committees, the next big decision was a club project. The Seattle club advised them to choose something out of the ordinary – a “reach for the stars” idea. Since so many clubs chose scholarships, they decided it would be more fun to do something unusual.

Although there were many suggestions, the final decision was to start a Hospital Equipment Loan Program which would serve residents of Anacortes without charge. The first piece of equipment purchased was a bed.

The next problem the club encountered was how to pay for the bed. The club members raised money in a variety of ways. They held style shows, bake sales, musical programs, rummage sales and dinners. All of these fund raisers took lots of time and effort, and sometimes the resulting profit was small.

In 1966, Thelma Marani, Nina Antonious and Doris Tursi decided to ask the club to consider opening a thrift shop. The idea received a lot of opposition for a variety of reasons, mostly cost. Doris said, “It took some persuasion to convince the club that it was a good idea. We had to personally guarantee that the club would not go in debt, and we never did. We didn’t make much at first, but we always managed to make expenses, which were $25 plus a few dollars in winter for Presto Logs.”

Little did anyone know back in 1966 how this decision would impact the club. First, the thrift shop became it’s own service project, offering the community clean, high quality, previously owned goods at a reasonable price. Second, it became the engine that generated funds that made all of the other service projects possible.