Years in the Making, Social Enterprise Dream Becomes a Reality
Rethinking thrift. That’s what Building Hope in the City (BHITC), its partners, volunteers and the Cleveland area are doing now, thanks to the opening of Common Threads in Fairview Park in late June.
The store – which has been a long-time dream of BHITC’s – opened its doors for business on Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25 with a two-day grand opening celebration, which included a ribbon cutting ceremony with Fairview Park Mayor, Eileen Ann Patton (as seen on the cover with BHITC’s Jeff Stredney), outfits designed by VMCAD (previously Virginia Marti College of Art and Design) using donated merchandise, special promotions, giveaways, food and new designer items arriving in the store throughout both days!
“The opening of Common Threads is a huge milestone for HopeWorks, LLC and for all the incredible staff, volunteers and donors of BHITC who have poured their very best into this effort,” says Jeff Stredney, Director of Social Enterprise. “In our first month of operation alone, we received more positive feedback than I could have dreamed, with many sharing that they’ve never seen a thrift store as beautiful, bright and organized as Common Threads.”
In fact, in the first month of operation, Common Threads hit its 3,000th customer at the registers, a clear sign that the word is out among the community – the majority of which have never heard of BHITC and of those, 50 percent want to learn more!
However, Stredney reminds the BHITC faithful that the venture is far from over! “While many BHITC supporters have been praying around this for years, we’re just getting started in the eyes of the public. We still need lots of donations – an average of 160 per hour – and we need shoppers! We’d love to be your first stop for clothing, décor and houseware purchases, where 100 percent of every dime you spend directly supports the mission of BHITC,” he says.
What makes Common Threads unique?
Common Threads is resale done right. It combines high quality resale items in an engaging retail space with inspiring sales associates, who are part of new BHITC workforce development efforts, all while keeping profits local, benefiting the organization’s ministries. The enterprise merges the marketplace with ministry in several important ways:
- Employment for 20 people who have joined the Common Threads team from all over our city and the world! The staff represent referrals from urban church partners, individuals from partner schools and several refugees!
- 11,000-square-foot space, expected to sell 8,000 items per month.
- Expert retail store design with departments, special collections and professional designed window displays.
- Cycle of Common Good at checkout explains how the store will develop people, add value in the marketplace, do right by the environment and build our city through the work of BHITC.
- Lydia’s Corner, our spotlight section for local entrepreneurs and micro business efforts that will benefit from retail exposure at the store.
- (Un)common Finds spotlights ultra-high-end and one-of-a-kind items. Be sure to follow our latest discoveries on this section on Instagram!
More on Lydia’s Corner
This in-store showcase for emerging, local Cleveland makers, artisans and craftspeople, is named after Lydia, the successful New Testament businesswoman who traded in fabrics. She blended her entrepreneurial skills and faith to make a big impact in her day. Featured entrepreneurs at Lydia’s Corner will change regularly, so stop by often to sample some of the city’s brightest and best new businesses. A percentage of what you purchase at Lydia’s Corner goes to support BHITC.
Are you a local maker, artisan or craftsperson? Want space and a platform to showcase your product? Common Threads is looking for you! Contact Jeff Stredney by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations, donations, donations
BHITC seeks the following high-quality items to support the store: clothing and shoes (men, women and children), housewares, home décor, collectibles, bedding, linens, towels, small appliances, kitchen items, small furniture, purses, jewelry, toys, books, videos, DVDs, blu-ray, vinyl and more. BHITC cannot accept electronics, computers or large furniture.
Congregations and businesses willing to collect donations for Common Threads would be a great blessing! Contact BHITC for more information. A pick-up for this type of donation can be arranged.
Donations can be dropped off at the store, located at 22049 Lorain Road in Fairview Park from Monday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 8:00 pm and Sunday from 12:00 – 5:00 pm.
New East Side Drop-off Location:
Effective immediately, St. John Lutheran Church is accepting donations for the store on our behalf. The church is located at 4386 Mayfield Road in South Euclid. Donations will be accepted every Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Donors should ask for Jackie Storts at the reception desk.