BHITC’s first HopeWorks business, a retail thrift and vintage store, will be unveiled early next year. Partners, supporters – not to mention those who love a good bargain – can expect the store to open spring of 2016.
A thrift retail business was selected as a first venture for several reasons, says Jeff Stredney, director of HopeWorks. “Thrifting is exploding as a preferred means of shopping for personal, clothing and household items across all cultures and demographics,” he says. “It’s a smart, creative re-use of resources. We also think we can bring a better overall experience to the thrift marketplace.
Partners can expect a thrift and vintage store from BHITC unlike many others in Cleveland, says Stredney, who says excellent merchandising will be key value, as will opportunities to encourage local entrepreneurs and artisans. He also notes that some stores — even some in our area — are not actually directly linked to a nonprofit organization, but are rather for-profit companies with most of their earnings going to distant shareholders. “Not all thrift stores are created equal. We think the fact that BHITC’s store will keep the dollars and Kingdom impact local will be of great interest to many,” he says.
BHITC’s church partners, volunteers and supporters can take an active part in the venture, too. Donations of gently-used merchandise will be key, as will volunteers who are willing to lend their expertise to in-store merchandising, marketing, social media and much more. The store will provide 20-25 people with permanent employment and training in customer service, inventory management and more. BHITC will hire many of its employees from among the people it serves in its ministries and church partners.
The store’s location has yet to be determined. A BHITC team is currently considering several potential locations. Shoppers can expect a store that sells clothing for the whole family, housewares and home décor, small furniture items, books, videos and DVDs, and a whole lot more.