With its sights set on becoming a top thrifting destination in the $13 billion (and growing) U.S. thrift store industry, Buffalo Grove's Community Threads has upsized to a new location in Arlington Heights.
As it bids farewell to limited parking, cramped processing areas and constrained space for inventory, the store has reopened in Arlington Heights, where it looks to reap the benefits of 40 percent additional square footage and a central location in an established shopping market at 250 West Rand Road.
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"We are so blessed to have this opportunity to provide financially stressed shoppers who depend on thrift stores high quality goods," said Elizabeth Maring, store founder and proprietor who opened Community Threads as a social enterprise in 2011 after a 20-year career in law. "While we expect this move to drive a significant increase in revenue – money that will generate grants for neighboring ministries and educational endeavors – we also are committed to replicating Community Threads' culture of respect for people and their things."
Friday's ribbon-tying ceremony officially welcomed Community Threads to the Arlington Heights community, which featured remarks from Arlington Heights Mayor Thomas Hayes and Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce Board President James Bertucci, as more than 75 volunteers proudly looked on.
In just more than two years, the Christian nonprofit store has paid off its startup capital loan and granted more than $270,000 to organizations seeking to counteract the economic downturn in Illinois – organizations like St. Peter Lutheran Church and School and The Orchard Evangelical Church in Arlington Heights, Breakthrough Urban Ministries in East Garfield Park and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Palatine. Community Threads also has provided a home for community service workers, the disabled and students seeking job training, as well as hundreds of volunteers who have contributed more than 40,000 hours since the store opened.
"It will take local leaders from all backgrounds to help our neighbors in need survive and thrive," Maring said. "It's back to the old ways, really – people helping others when things get tough. As a Christian, I needed to take action, too, and Community Threads was one way for me to do just that."