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Community association eyes thrift store opening

Store would not interfere with existing necessitities donation program

The Houston Community Services Association is looking for a suitable spot to open a thrift store for the community and area.

But the plan to open a business won’t interfere with the association’s existing donation program of offering no-charge things regarded as necessities for families and individuals, explains Ashley Ridgway, a family support worker with the association.

“We plan to utilize this thrift store space to increase access to items that would be considered “luxury” or non-necessity, this could include anything,” she said.

“We plan to sell anything that does not fall under the parameters of our existing reuse program. For many years we have received donations from the community, enabling us to increase access to immediate need necessities for low income families and individuals or anyone experiencing circumstantial hardship.

“Some of the items we offer within our reuse program are kitchen items, clothes, linens, boots, shoes, hygiene products, winter gear, diapers, pet food, and furniture.”

Ridgway did add that because of volume, the thrift store may include kitchen items and clothes, but those will continue to be offered up as donations within the association’s office space for people in need.

“We are very fortunate to have such an amazing community, and we are very rarely short on donations for our existing reuse program. We plan to host a donation drive once we have received funding and can start prepping our space for opening,” Ridgway said.

One of the factors behind the decision to open a thrift store is to offer an alternative to people who might otherwise be taking items to the landfill.

“We do have a reuse shed at our landfill site, however the hours for the shed are far more limited than the hours of the landfill itself, and this can be inconvenient for many people,” said Ridgway.

Proceeds will go toward the day to day operations expenses with income over and above to stock up the association’s emergency food cupboard.

That provides access to non-perishable and frozen food items for those experiencing food insecurity, Ridgway added.

The association is now applying for grants to help finance its thrift store start up costs.

And it has been given a letter of support from the District of Houston council as it searches for grants.