For many, Dolly Campbell is the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Thrift Shop. Her bright red hair, positive welcome at the door and ability to assemble a team of enthusiastic volunteers is a large part of the charm of the store. But after 15 years of working as a comanager with Sandy Pratt, Mrs. Campbell is retiring.

On Tuesday, the day of her 64th birthday, Mrs. Campbell spoke of having wonderful relationships with everyone who has entered the store, which most people call the Chicken Alley Thrift Shop. It is located on Lagoon Pond Road in Vineyard Haven, a neighborhood once referred to as Chicken Alley due to the many Portuguese families who lived on the street and owned backyard chicken coops.

Today the shop is the center of the universe for many shoppers. It is a hardware store, a clothing store, a linen shop, a furniture store and a bookstore with a regular year-round clientele. It wasn’t always so successful.

The store first opened in 1962, originally on Main street, and was entirely run by unpaid staff. Mrs. Campbell’s husband, Bruce, is an entrepreneur. They moved to the Vineyard in 1971 from Washington, D.C., and spent summers in Vineyard Haven. Mrs. Campbell said she worked in a store across the street from the thrift shop, the Paper Tiger, owned by Liza Coogan, and took an interest in what was happening across the way.

Mrs. Campbell remembers many seniors working at the store. “Helen Maley was behind the counter. She said to me, ‘Oh, Dolly. Would you like to volunteer?’”

And that is how it began. “I had been going to thrift shops like crazy for years in Louisiana and Texas,” she said. During that first Vineyard summer at the store she met a lot of people and was amazed by the energy within. She also saw issues that could be addressed, if given the authority.

In the fall, Mrs. Campbell said, “I sat down with my sister, my mother, my brother and a good friend and I prepared a ‘this is what I can do for you list.’” She presented it to the leadership of Community Services, which at the time was led by Ned Robinson-Lynch. “I proposed that they should hire me and put me on trial for two months,” she said. This was a big new step for both. “I promised that we would increase sales,” she said. Two months later, she said, “They put me on permanently.”

Sandra Pratt, her compadre at the shop, started working there at about the same time. Together they became the leading ladies of hand-me-down apparel and other things people call “stuff.” The Thrift Shop has the best book collection of women’s studies that can be found anywhere on the Island.

Mrs. Pratt has the highest praise for her friend and colleague. The two have shared memories of Main street and the move to 38 Lagoon Pond Road nine years ago. “Dolly and I grew the Thrift Shop from a nice place on Main street to the busy place it is now,” Mrs. Pratt said. “We were a team. We melded into one person. She would start a sentence and I would finish it. We finished each other’s sandwiches. Many people called me Dolly, while others would call her Sandy.”

Mrs. Campbell ran the front of the store, and Mrs. Pratt the back. “A big part of Dolly was that she was welcoming, making people feel comfortable when they came in,” Mrs. Pratt said.

In those first years on Main street, Mrs. Pratt recalled that if they made $600 in a day that was a huge day. Now they routinely make twice that amount each business day. Many within the store speculate whether the Thrift Shop is the busiest store in the downtown area, second only to the Stop and Shop.

Often waves of shoppers will show up and the place will be inundated, looking as if there is a fire sale inside, as if they are giving things away. At other times, the place is just busy.

“If there is a reason I did well,” Mrs. Campbell said, “It is because of the people. I love them.” But she also recalls spending plenty of time in the store. It was a full-time job, and her spare time was often spent thinking about the shop.

On Tuesday, she recalled the Beatles tune, “When I am 64.”

“I’ve been singing that today,” she said.

A key reason for moving on is tied to her grandchildren. Her 40-year-old son Seth and his wife, Jacqui, live in Wellington, New Zealand. They have a three-year-old son, Silas. Mrs. Campbell said she is heading to New Zealand to be with them for three months; her daughter-in-law is expecting again and will deliver soon. “I want to be there,” she said. The Campbells also have a 36-year old daughter, Tori Campbell.

The Thrift Shop will be fine too. New staff have been hired and new initiatives will take the shop forward. Noava Knight Wibel has been hired to work with Karen Child, who has already been at the shop for more than two years. Mrs. Pratt said Ms. Wibel is computer literate and there are plans to have a greater presence on Facebook and greater prominence on Ebay.

Of the Thrift Shop, Mrs. Campbell said, “You know, it is really a family affair. We are all therapists. Humor is a big part. If you don’t leave this place without a smile, you’ve failed.”

Of the future, Mrs. Campbell shared the biggest smile of all, “You know, I might come back as a volunteer.”