A new year brings new beginnings and that is exactly what the staff and volunteers at the Open Door Thrift Store are eagerly anticipating.
After 18 years at its location on 111 W. Third St., the store has found a new home at 612 S. Hancock Ave. in what once was the Family Dollar Store.
“We are just so thrilled and excited that we have found this location,” said Betty Bultemeier, director of the Thrift Store. “This store is so light and roomy and such an improvement over our old location, we are so fortunate to have found this.”
The new facility offers several advantages to the old store, according to both Bultemeier and Open Door Benevolent Ministries Executive Director Jack Menges.
“This location has so much more usable floor space,” Menges said. “And it’s all on one level; our volunteers no longer have to spend their time in the basement bringing up merchandise.
“We will be able to accept donations of larger furniture items now, which we always seem to sell and people want to donate to us quite often,” Menges added. “The more we can sell the more people in Pettis County we can serve, which is the purpose of our organization.”
All of the proceeds from the sale of merchandise at the thrift store are used to help with items such as medical expenses and utility bills for those in need in Pettis County.
The organization pays no money directly to individuals but pays the stipends directly to the providers of the service.
“I know a lot of people have asked me, ‘Jack why do you need to spend money to lease this new store?’ Menges said. “My response is simple: sometimes you have to spend a little money to make more money.
“We’re getting a very attractive lease from the owner of the building; in fact, he is leasing it to us at a much lower rate than he offered it to other individuals,” Menges added. “We think we will see a lot more exposure at this location and hopefully more customers.”
The new store is across the street from Woods and Dollar General, and Menges said he senses that many people will find this location more convenient.
“We wanted to stay as close to downtown as we could because a lot of our customers walked to the old store,” Menges said. “We hope they feel they can still do that, but for our customers who drive, the new store has better parking facilities too.
“In the past I think people had to search to find us,” he added. “Now we are more visible and accessible to our customers and volunteers.”
Those volunteers have been busy during the last three weeks packing all of the merchandise from the old store and preparing the new store.
“I can’t tell you the number of wonderful volunteers we have had who have been helping us these past few weeks,” Bultemeier said. “They have just been incredible in everything they have done.
“We’ve really been busy getting the racks filled with merchandise and the front of the store ready to go,” she added. “The back part might not be ready but that is OK, we can make do for now.”
Bultemeier, who has been with the Thrift Store for 13 years, explained that the back portion of the facility will be used as the receiving area for merchandise.
The facility also has a small room for two men who check all of the appliances and electrical merchandise that is donated to make sure it is in good working order.
“We have a good supply of clothing now; most of it is new merchandise for us and hasn’t been at the other location,” Bultemeier said. “We can always accept donations, especially other furniture items.”
The store does not accept mattresses or beds, but all other items are welcome.
“We accept donations Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.,” Bultemeier said. “All an individual who wishes to donate items needs to do is drive to the south door and let us know they are here.
“We can always use volunteers and if someone would like to help us all they need to do is contact me,” Bultemeier added.
The Open Door Thrift Store will open at 9 a.m. Monday. Bultemeier said the store is planning a grand opening later in the spring.
For now, the store hours will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We may expand our hours later in the spring,” Bultemeier said. “We really just want everyone to come and visit us at our new location.
“We really want everyone to realize that our profits stay here in Pettis County and we want to help as many of our residents as we can,” she added.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484