OACS News Service
Alliston’s Attic thrift
store a blessing to school and community
The store opened March 18, 2011, and has recently expanded its space with plans to include a “Living Room” cafe area, supported by several local churches, and a mentoring centre called the “Meeting Room.” The space will be used after hours for ministry opportunities, such as baking classes and life skill courses.
Principal Cathy Lubbers presented the store’s conception in her culminating project for the Van Lunen Fellows Program last year.
The school needed a new and unique way to raise funds, and the idea of running a thrift store came forward.
Lubbers had some experience with a thrift store where her family grew up, and started investigating a similar store in London, Ont. A committee was struck in November 2010, and a vacant store in Alliston’s retail district was found in December.
Angela Catrambone, a parent on the school board, says when the discussion about the store started “something just awoke inside of me.”
“I love thrift shopping, I love our school, I love all the dimensions of what this store does so it just grabbed a hold of me,” she says.
The timing was “incredible,” she says. She prayed about the venture and at the same time had her job declared redundant. The board chair called and invited her to get involved in the store, and she was hired as the store manager.
Alliston's Attic accepts donated items and sells new and used items including furniture, home decor, kitchen items, clothing, jewellery and toys.
During the store’s first fiscal year it cleared $38,000, and is looking to increase that amount going forward, she says.
“Financially, it’s been a real blessing,” says Lubbers of the store, noting the school has been able to decrease its tuition costs as a result while being a place to witness in the community.
The store has several customers who are needy, and is always looks to help them, notes Catrambone.
They have a partnership with the local women’s shelter and provide items for free to women who are moving into their own space.
Catrambone says the store is always looking for ways to be a blessing and through focusing on making connections and reaching out to the community is seeing success.
There are approximately 45 volunteers from school and churches, who Catrambone says are fantastic and are why the store is possible.
When asked what advice she would give another school interested to start a thrift store, Catrambone says, “Call us. We’d love to sit down with them.”
Click here to visit the store’s Facebook page.
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