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New thrift shop aims to help church, suicide prevention

POSTED: December 30, 2008 12:58 a.m.

Opening a combination thrift shop and gift shop was something Hoschton resident Michelle Worthy always wanted to do, but didn’t have an opportunity to pursue until recently.

She and her husband, Clinton, worked in the building and development industry for years, but with the economy declining and both her children in college, Worthy finally had the time to open her own store.

The store, called Outreach Thrift Shop, opened about five weeks ago and features everything from clothing and furniture to housewares and gifts.

Customers walking into the store can venture down one of two major hallways connecting to the main reception area. To the left lies the gift shop side, with four different rooms lined with unique gifts such as jewelry, bath salts and wine glasses. To the right is the thrift shop side, with four more rooms designated for children’s toys and apparel, men’s clothing, women’s clothing and miscellaneous housewares.

The store feels more like a house than a typical thrift store, which was part of the reason why the couple wanted to locate their new business there, Worthy said.

"It took a while to find a place, but it worked out really well for our application," she said. "We wanted it to be more upscale. I want it to be a fun experience when people come in."

The shop is decorated for the holiday season with garland and a Christmas tree that reaches the ceiling, complete with decorative ornaments for sale. But there’s one ornament that Worthy doesn’t plan to sell.

"That’s my brother," she said, pointing to a gold, oval ornament with a picture of 16-year-old Kyle Copija. Her brother committed suicide two years ago, and she said she plans to write a check to the American Society for Suicide Prevention every year as well as donate a portion of the store’s proceeds to the 18- to 24-year-old age group at The Family Church in Sugar Hill.

"You have to find a way to make something good out of something bad," Worthy said. "Of course, you know the economy’s not good right now and we wanted something where we can give back ... and that age group is really close to my heart."

And for those most in need in the community, the store and The Family Church will team up to offer vouchers to the store.

"The way we envision it working is a family comes to the church and is in need of items, and we make the decision to provide them a voucher to use at their store," said Scott Dorsey, pastor of men’s ministry and community outreach at The Family Church.

Dorsey said the church works with the North Gwinnett Cooperative to provide people with food, but the Worthys’ store could "fit a need we can’t readily meet."

"There are a lot of people in need. There are a lot of people trying to get things worked out, and we all need a helping hand from time to time," he said.



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