EARC opens new thrift store

Jane Shaulinskas browses through the book section of the new EARC thrift store. The business had its grand opening last week.

In the heat of a blazing-hot afternoon sun Thursday, representatives from the EARC celebrated the grand opening of their new thrift store at 92 E. 15th St.

“There’s not more sunshine out there than is in your hearts,” said Mayor Saundra Naifeh in her address to the crowd.

The EARC thrift store first opened at 100 E. Third St. in 1969, with proceeds providing funding for early EARC programs for children with developmental disabilities. Today, the organization has a staff of about 70 employees and volunteers in the Edmond and Guthrie stores, said Kim Pittman, EARC director of retail operations.

Road construction in late 2005 and early 2006 in the area of Third Street and Littler Avenue contributed to the organization’s decision to move to a new site, Pittman said. In December, the EARC reported that sales were down 40 percent from its normal holiday rate.

Purchase of the new Edmond store was made possible through a donation from Roy and Mike Oliver of Norman, Pittman said. Mike Oliver serves as a member of the group’s board of directors.

Along with the new thrift store, EARC provides several levels of residential and employment care for adults with disabilities in Edmond, including the Nova Center, the Trails Workshop and two group homes.

The organization will continue to use its former building at Third and Littler as a donation drop-off and processing center, said Bonnie Wells, EARC executive director.

Wells said the group is delighted with its new 4,000-square-foot facility.

“We hope to be able to offer more merchandise, and it provides us more opportunity for staffing and longer hours for our client employees,” she said. “It’s all about jobs.”

Kenny Holloway, EARC board secretary, said he was glad to see the thrift store housed in its new location.

“We’re just so happy to be here,” he said. “It’s been a long process and a lot of hard work by lots of good people.”

Wells said she is grateful to Edmond residents who have supported the thrift store through donations and volunteerism during its 37-year history.

“We have been blessed with such wonderful donations, and our volunteers are just great,” she said.

(Alice Collinsworth may be reached via e-mail at acollinsworth@edmondsun.com.)


Recommended for you