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Re: Domestic violence thrift stores

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  • Rolfe Larson
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2008
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      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
      revenue sources.

      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
      impact work.

      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:
      www.rootcause.org/bizplanning.

      (2) From Becky Eisen <beisen@...>

      I believe that your organization's expertise in thrift store operations
      could
      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
      between
      Pressley Ridge and Innervate (a for-profit Pittsburgh based technology
      company)
      and is dedicated to providing the best in administrative and managerial
      support
      in the human services industry. They develop and market products and
      services
      under the brand name TOTAL: ImpactT

      Additionally, our firm - Community Wealth Ventures - has worked with a
      number of
      nonprofit organizations to create a consulting practice from their
      intellectual
      capital. One example that comes to mind is Achievement Centers for Children
      (ACC) in Cleveland, OH. The Achievement Centers for Children has been
      serving
      children with disabilities and their families since 1940. Their mission is
      to
      join with children with disabilities and their families to strengthen
      abilities
      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
      in.
      People have less to spend, cheaper Chinese made goods to buy and are more
      time
      deprived. All this ends up being hard on second hand charity stores with
      volunteers needing to support themselves in an increasingly less cash
      affluent
      society.
      Maybe the designer thing is a good idea. Also there seems to be emerging a
      trend
      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
      lasts
      many (not just the one) season! Also you could partner with a dry cleaning
      store
      to bring the best out in the clothing...

      cheers
      Caroline Keen
      Conceptual Coach
      New Zealand


      [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
      npEnterprise Forum's archive:

      http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/npEnterprise/message/2907
      http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/npEnterprise/message/2908

      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
      our
      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
      so
      long we have already made every mistake possible and we help new stores
      avoid
      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
      year
      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
      encouragement
      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!!!
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