New thrift store to benefit Love INC
For years, Love INC of Northern Marion County has been negotiating with an envious problem to have for a non-profit: what to do when you have too many donations coming in and not enough inventory space to properly distribute them.
The faith-based service organization partners with 18 churches and more than 70 service agencies in the north Marion County area, providing resources to struggling community members. As a result, Love INC has developed an extensive network of volunteers and donors who provide a vast quantity of desirable items, such as beds, clothing and furniture, that is redistributed to those in need.
The number of donations is so high that Love INC will be opening a new thrift store on Saturday, Nov. 2, to help stock and distribute those items while helping to generate additional funding to be used elsewhere in the community.
The idea behind opening a thrift store has long been in the works for Love INC, which sees literal tons of donations each month that the organization is unable to utilize.
"Right now, we get three to four tons a month of donations that otherwise would otherwise go to Goodwill," Executive Co-Director Curt Jones said.
Some of the items, like beds and kitchenware, are in high demand and find homes the day they are sorted into Love INC's inventories. However, more everyday items, like clothing and home decorations, are too numerous to use and get shipped to places like the Teen Challenge thrift store in Salem or the Kiwanis thrift store in Canby.
"The idea of having a local thrift (store) that would keep the benefits of those donations local would be cool," Jones said.
The opportunity to open just such a store came about this summer, and Love INC was able to raise $200,000 in two months. That money was used to invest in the capital needed to launch a store at the former Advance Auto Parts location at 335 N. Pacific Hwy., located between Arctic Circle and Domino's Pizza in Woodburn.
The storefront — dubbed Ray of Hope Thrift Store — is a separate non-profit organization from Love INC that will be roughly split between paid employees and volunteers. The separation between the two organizations e is merely a practical business decision, to prevent Love INC from stretching itself thin. It will remain the beneficiary of the thrift store, which will allow Love INC to further benefit the community through its massive stock of secondhand items that it could not store.
"Love INC has full access to all donations," Jones said. "We will have access to four or five times the amount of the donations."
The location will also serve as a drop-off point for donations, so community members will be able to keep Ray of Hope stocked with secondhand items that can be redistributed.
The store has been stocked during the past month with the help of Tony Reyes, a longtime community organizer with a 30-year background in getting thrift stores off the ground. Reyes has been acting as a consultant for Ray of Hope, helping to get the store off the ground and offering his expertise to Love INC on how to keep the project successful.
"We definitely want to stress the community connection, because this store gives back 100 percent in this community," Reyes said. "When somebody donates here, they know they are impacting their neighbors."
Ray of Hope Thrift Store
Location: 335 N. Pacific Hwy
Grand opening: Saturday, Nov. 2
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