Store employees experience work as a blessing with BHITC
“Everyday, I walk into this store and I feel like God made this job just for me,” says Jeff Stredney, BHITC’s Director of Social Enterprise, describing the experience of launching Common Threads.
The store, located in Fairview Park, opened in June of 2016 as the first business venture of HopeWorks, BHITC’s new ministry arm committed to creating value in the marketplace, employment for some of the people BHITC serves and an excellent witness to Jesus as Lord.
The sense of purpose Stredney finds at Common Threads is a perspective store employees share, as well. Ghaida Hmeidan, a keyholder at Common Threads, says that being part of the team that planned, organized and opened the store for months prior to its grand opening was a unique opportunity for her.
“I’ve never been part of this type of experience before,” she says. “I’m proud of what we’ve done here, not just because our customers are giving us good reviews, or because of the amazing charity that benefits from our store’s sales, but because when I walk around this store, I see my work everywhere. It’s like, ‘Wow, I helped to make all this happen. I got to be part of this!’”
Maria Szarka, Accessories Department Lead, agrees and senses her role at Common Threads has been a calling from God on her life and work. “I love what I do here. We’re a diverse group, but we’re united by a passion for what we do and a great love for one another.”
Szarka attributes that to the environment that’s been set by Stredney. “Most of the time in a corporate setting, when you put your ideas on the table, they are brushed off to the side. Here, at Common Threads, my ideas are put into practice and that’s been a huge blessing to me and others.”
Stredney says at Common Threads, and at all BHITC’s future business ventures, he seeks to create a God-exalting setting for all. “Loving God isn’t just something we do Sunday mornings,” he says. “It’s a whole life commitment. And where do we spend most of our time: at work! We invest 40, 50 or 60 hours a week working and interacting with others at our jobs. That large chunk of my life needs to submitted to the Lord, as well. So, to start thinking of every interaction I have with an employee, a shopper or donor as an opportunity to show people the love and integrity of Jesus is incredible. It’s what I believe makes Common Threads truly unique.”
Common Threads: By the Numbers
- Store size: 11,000 square feet (7,500 sales floor, 3,500 donation/sorting center)
- People employed since launch: 18
- Traffic count at W. 220th Street and Lorain Road: 22,000 cars per day
- Annual total of recycled clothing and textiles: 200,000 pounds
- Average items on the store floor at any time: 28,000+
- Sales floor store inventory turns over 100% every 5 weeks
Donations always needed!
Did you know the store needs a minimum of 500,000 items to sustain its operations? You may have donated in the past, but the store goes through approximately 10,000 items a week, so donations are always critical!
In fact, right now the store is especially in need of quality men’s clothing and modern home décor. Men account for nearly 40 percent of thrift shoppers, yet men’s clothing is donated less frequently than women’s. That means men, it’s time to clean out your old clothes, or ladies, maybe it’s time to venture to your hubby’s side of the closet and do some much-needed purging!