Re: Domestic violence thrift stores
- Here are some more comments that responded to the following request from Alice Coleman:
"I am the executive director of the Association of Domestic Violence
Outreach Stores (ADVOS). We operate thrift stores in North Carolina that directly benefit domestic violence shelters. We started opening stores in 1998 with 5 stores and now we have 59 in operation. In 2005 the stores formed ADVOS to provide technical assistance, training and start up consultation to their stores.
We have increase profits over 35 percent in the past three years. We were funded by a grant from our state's family violence program and the crime commission. Due to funding cutbacks we have lost 75% of our operating costs.
Can anyone provide information on grant funds that will allow us to continue operation as well as expand our services to other states?"
(1) From Behrad Mahdi <bmahdi@...>
I'd recommend you consider entering into a business planning process to
not only solicit for funding, but think about garnering resources to
continue scaling your work into new communities and developing alternative
I work for Root Cause, a non-profit that works within the social sector to
develop innovations for social impact. We've found that business planning
is a useful mechanism for identifying new opportunities for garnering
financial sustainability, as well as finding new innovations for your social
I would highly recommend you take a look at our new How-to guide, "Business
Planning For Enduring Social Impact", by Andrew Wolk and Kelley Kreitz. You
can get a free pdf of the guide at this address:
(2) From Becky Eisen <beisen@...>
I believe that your organization's expertise in thrift store operations
definitely be leveraged, packaged and sold to other thrift store operators,
either as a publication or software, as continuous consulting services or in
some other form. A great example of an organization that has done this is
Pressley Ridge, an organization that works with troubled children.
Pressley Ridge founded Esteam: a leading provider of software, services and
expertise that enable human services organizations to create and maintain a
culture of continuous improvement in service quality, productivity,
effectiveness and financial strength. The company is a collaboration
Pressley Ridge and Innervate (a for-profit Pittsburgh based technology
and is dedicated to providing the best in administrative and managerial
in the human services industry. They develop and market products and
under the brand name TOTAL: ImpactT
Additionally, our firm - Community Wealth Ventures - has worked with a
nonprofit organizations to create a consulting practice from their
capital. One example that comes to mind is Achievement Centers for Children
(ACC) in Cleveland, OH. The Achievement Centers for Children has been
children with disabilities and their families since 1940. Their mission is
join with children with disabilities and their families to strengthen
and create opportunities for lifelong achievement in society.
ACC started Achieve Consulting to offer customized consulting services and
workshops to school systems to help improve their programs for students with
autism. Achieve Consulting is an outgrowth of their extensive expertise and
experience in providing specialized educational services for toddlers,
preschoolers and elementary age children with a diagnosis of autism.
(3) From Caroline Keen <keen_caroline@...>
You sound like you have a great grip on the whole industry.
I think there are changes afoot as the great equaliser - globalization sets
People have less to spend, cheaper Chinese made goods to buy and are more
deprived. All this ends up being hard on second hand charity stores with
volunteers needing to support themselves in an increasingly less cash
Maybe the designer thing is a good idea. Also there seems to be emerging a
in New Zealand advertising for just about every local business that relates to local
issues of saving power and being environmentally friendly.
Maybe you could market the theme of old fashioned durable clothing that
many (not just the one) season! Also you could partner with a dry cleaning
to bring the best out in the clothing...
[Moderator's note: the previous comments on this thread can be viewed at the
following URL -- you'll need a free Yahoo ID to access these files from the
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Finally, here's Alice's response to the previous round of comments:
(4) From Alice Coleman
Thanks for your information. Our Association actually provides
training and consultation to the thrift stores in our group. We have seen
store profits increase by over 27% in the time we have been in operation and
have specific examples of how, after an in store consultation daily sales
increase by over 300%. Since we have been in the thrift store business for
long we have already made every mistake possible and we help new stores
those costly mistakes at start up. One of our stores was struggling in the
mountains (50.00 a day) and after an onsite consultation "make over" and a
later it is making $9,000 a month after expenses. We all learn from each
other and share good ideas and bad mistakes. Thank you for your
and your ideas. I will certainly use them as I look for ways to continue our
work. I'll post the positive results when they come in!!!