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Thrift store gives back to community

2/21/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

ELLIS -- Secondhand goods find a new purpose through the Ellis Community Thrift Shop.

Guided by a mission to recycle, reuse and rebuild Ellis, the store at 1013 Washington fills more than a commercial role. Last week, the shop launched a long-planned program meant to contribute to the Ellis community.

The store has donated matching gifts of $10,000 to Ellis High School for a new sound system in its auditorium and $275 to the Ellis Nutrition Center for new tables. Both have an effect on the community because many people use the facilities for events.

"We're looking to fund tangible, physical items," said Vera Haver, shop manager and founder. "Items that can benefit a lot of the community, and the longer lasting the items are, the more likely we are to fund them."

Operated by the nonprofit Ellis Thrift Ltd., the business has been a fixture in the community since 2006. The store, always intended to serve a charitable purpose, is in a position to help after becoming established. The building also was bought and renovated through the years.

"This is a way for the community members to just take unused, unwanted items and recycle them and others reuse them. But then the money stays right in the community, and it has the potential of rebuilding that community," Haver said. "That's what we're all about."

The two-story retailer has a loyal customer base beyond Ellis and attracts an average of 30 to 50 customers a day. It had 8.27 tons of items recycled in 2013 at manufacturing centers and for disaster relief.

Bob Young, superintendent of Ellis USD 388, said the donation was an honor.

"I just think the whole concept of giving back to the community is extremely important. ... This is targeting the entire community and trying to look for benefits for the entire community," Young said.

Karen Day, board president of the Ellis Nutrition Center, said she appreciations the donation because it will allow her group to replace damaged, heavy tables. The new furniture will help seniors and others assemble and clean up faster.

"For the center, it's just really great," Day said. "It's really nice they can give back to the community because there's always nonprofits out there or people, other entities that can use extra money because ... money is tight."

There will be two donation cycles each year in January and July, and any nonprofit in the Ellis community can apply. The next deadline is July 31.