Summit Thrift & Treasure secondhand stores reopen to serve basic needs of community
DILLON — After being closed for more than two months, the Family & Intercultural Resource Center has reopened its Summit Thrift & Treasure stores in a limited capacity.
The nonprofit closed the stores when Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus March 13. At the time, the nonprofit had to lay off 15 employees who worked at the two stores in Dillon and Breckenridge.
Now that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has allowed retail businesses to operate, resource center Development Director Anita Overmyer said the nonprofit decided to reopen the Dillon store to address the needs of the community.
“We wanted to make sure that we were able to provide the basic needs of clothing and shoes for people in our community,” she said.
The two stores aren’t operating as they were before, however. The Dillon store is open for shopping Tuesdays through Fridays by appointment. The Breckenridge store remains closed for shopping but is open from 1-5 p.m. Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays for donations. The Breckenridge store is accepting only clothes and shoes, which will be sold at the Dillon location.
The nonprofit is trying to limit the transmission of the novel coronavirus by having people sort their own clothes and shoes into bins at the Breckenridge store. Every donation will sit in storage for six days before being taken to the Dillon store.
“We’re hopeful that, by going through this extra process, that we’re able to keep staff safe and our shoppers safe and really minimize any exposure to the virus,” Overmyer said.
Opening the stores is a bit of a financial challenge, however. The stores typically contribute one-quarter of the nonprofit’s revenue, Overmyer said. When they closed, a large chunk of money was lost. To make ends meet, the nonprofit was able to rehire only four of the original 15 employees.
“Fortunately, fundraising and donors have really stepped up,” Overmyer said about the nonprofit’s budget. “We’ve seen significant increase in donations from people throughout the community trying to help us provide the services that we’re offering right now for the community.”
Overmyer said the closure of the stores created a deficit for the nonprofit’s programs and that it is “more dependent now than (it’s) ever been on individual donations.”
Kate Hudnut, who oversees both of the stores, said the reopening is focused on meeting the needs of the community rather than financially supporting the nonprofit.
“Now, we’re just opening on very limited hours with limited staff because it’s not a profitable model anymore,” she said. “(The stores) used to be a really big chunk of the money we made for our programs. Now, we’re looking at barely breaking even and, honestly, just focusing on it being a program itself.”
The store is also offering vouchers for people who struggle to afford its items, Hudnut said. When people call the store to set up an appointment, staff asks a few screening questions to see if the caller qualifies for the voucher program. The store offers a $20 voucher for individuals and $40 for families.
So far, about half of the customers at the store have used the voucher program, Hudnut said.
“There are a lot of people that, for reasons of transportation or just the cost of goods, don’t even shop at Walmart or Target. Really, they rely on our stores,” she said.
To make an appointment for the store, shoppers can call 970-262-3888. People who wish to donate should give only clothes and shoes that are clean and reusable.
“In the past, FIRC has spent $30,000 a year on trash removal because people have donated things that we couldn’t resell,” Overmyer said. “As long as clothing and shoes are in good condition without tears or stains, we would love to accept that.”
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