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Posted: October 31, 2017

Elk Valley Thrift Shop is on the move

Helping a non-profit organization achieve its vision can involve providing business expertise, a grant to build capacity or a loan to bridge a financial gap. Or it can involve all three.

The Elk Valley Thrift Shop in Sparwood is a relatively new enterprise run by a successful non-profit organization that distributes $5,000 each month to its community. In just over three years, the Elk Valley Thrift Shop Society has donated more than $250,000 to many causes throughout the Elk Valley.

Inside the current location of the Elk Valley Thrift store where over 57 tonnes of textiles has been recycled and kept from the landfill.

They have a customer first policy, embrace the concept of reduce, reuse, recycle, and maintain a strict no dumping policy, demonstrated by the 57 tonnes of textiles they have recycled and kept from the landfill. And now they are ready to expand.

“The volume of donations we receive is huge. The communities are very generous. We’ve simply outgrown our space,” said Katrin Taylor, thrift shop manager.

The society participated in Columbia Basin Trust’s Non-Profit Advisors program and the Basin Business Advisors program to develop a business plan to purchase their own building and move from the retail space they have outgrown.

“The society had a strong vision and knew their direction, but recognized they needed outside support,” said Kaylyn Gervais, Manager, Community Relationships at Columbia Basin Trust. “The Trust was able to work alongside them to develop creative solutions that combined a variety of tools. We applaud them for recognizing their needs, formulating a plan and finding the assistance required to put it into action.”

Through a combination of a grant and a business investment loan, the Trust is helping the Elk Valley Thrift Shop Society purchase and renovate a three-storey building that will give them more retail space, more storage space, and more room for their volunteers. They plan to expand their volunteer program to attract more young volunteers, and the new space will be wheel chair accessible, making it possible for people with disabilities to volunteer.

“The new building will help us with a bigger work space, more storage and we’ll be able to serve our customers better. It will make a better shopping experience for the public. We’re all very excited,” Taylor added.

Sparwood and the communities in the Elk Valley will continue to receive the benefits from the shop. With a new, bigger building and more capacity, the society is projecting increasing its donations to communities. Everyone wins!

The new location in Centennial Square will be open at the beginning of November.

Lead image: The Elk Valley Thrift Store distributes $5,000 each month to its community. Images courtesy Columbia Basin Trust

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