Welcome Home, Thriftique
Watauga County has its fair share of thrift stores, but a new
gently used retail location in Boone will take a special interest in giving employees a fresh start
in life, while instilling in them the value of a dollar.
Welcome Home Thriftique at 186 Boone Heights Drive is a joint operation spearheaded by Hospitality House of Boone and Appalachian State University.
The store is scheduled to open July 1, pending the approval of a lease agreement, said Todd Carter, director of development at Hospitality House.
Unlike other area secondhand stores that specialize in clothing sales, the Thriftique will offer upscale furniture and home décor at a reasonable price. All proceeds will directly benefit Hospitality House.
Resources to jump-start the store were made possible through the North Carolina Campus Compact, which has university-based offices throughout the state, and the utilization of AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteers.
Brittany Johnson will serve as Boone’s AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer and is leading the organizational efforts to get the store up and running.
“Right now, the project is coming along really well,” Johnson said. “The month of June will be spent renovating, and then we will be ready to open. We are currently starting to get different office supplies to have the checklist going, and we are in the process of trying to get (the store) painted.”
Johnson said the store will be designed to ensure an easy flow of goods by preventing unnecessary clutter.
“The biggest thing is convenience,” Johnson said. “We want it to flow nicely, kept clean, presentable and offer a good range of prices.”
The thrift store will also have a dual purpose in that it will provide job training and financial literacy to clients of Hospitality House.
“We will have an internship program similar to the kitchen program at Hospitality House,” Johnson said. “They will be able to work on customer service by working in retail, go over money handling, and, eventually, we will be going over manager skills and things that they can apply at their next job.”
Upon gaining these skills, Hospitality House clients, most of whom have been faced with an emergency housing crisis, can learn skills to reenter the workforce and begin saving for a better tomorrow.
“This is a place they can get skills to go forward and get back on their feet to have a sustainable income,” Johnson said.
Through the implementation of the new store, Johnson said the Thriftique is not aiming to rival local Goodwill locations.
“We are not trying to beat Goodwill with clothes, but we want to definitely offer upscale furniture at a good price,” she said. “Once we get up and running, we will have a place that will be able to accept donations.”