Spence Street Thrift Shop is reborn

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The Spence Street Thrift Shop is welcoming shoppers in the West End again after a three-week closure for renovations.

“We did some new paint, new colour, we updated the flooring and made the store more efficient and the racks are more enticing,” said Thrift Shop Coordinator Kristy Muckosky on Monday at a reopening celebration and ribbon-cutting.

Thrift Shop coordinator Kristy Muckosky, left, and PFSS executive director Rhonda Elias-Penner cut a ribbon to mark the shop reopening.

Thrift Shop coordinator Kristy Muckosky, left, and PFSS executive director Rhonda Elias-Penner cut a ribbon to mark the shop reopening.

The Thrift Shop, located at Sargent Ave. and Spence St., helps support Pregnancy and Family Support Services (PFSS) – a neighbourhood family centre and United Way agency partner that provides respite daycare, family counselling, parenting classes and monthly emergency food and baby-supply services. United Way hopes to offer 2800 more Winnipeggers a chance to access this kind of help close to home at their local family centres by 2019.

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“Thank you everybody for all the support. We know that this renovation is going to go a long way to not only generating more support and income for the Thrift Shop and the organization, but also just comfort and safety and dignity for the people that are coming here and not feeling like they’re shopping in a dungeon,” said PFSS executive director Rhonda Elias-Penner.

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PFSS board member and long-time United Way volunteer Bonnie Macdonell said the shop also provides work and volunteer opportunities for community members.

“There’s opportunities through programs United Way has sponsored for members of our multi-national community to have a chance to work and gain experience at the shop,” Bonnie said.

PFSS board chair Bonnie Macdonell has volunteered to help guide the direction and impact of United Way agency partners for 20 years.

PFSS board chair Bonnie Macdonell has volunteered to help guide the direction and impact of United Way agency partners for 20 years.

Kristy said the shop, which is celebrating 30 years in the community, had not seen any significant renovations in about 20 years.

2016 is the 30th anniversary of the Thrift Shop - a great excuse for some cake!

2016 is the 30th anniversary of the Thrift Shop – a great excuse for some cake!

She expressed gratitude to the Richardson Foundation and United Way for their support through the Essential Needs Fund, without which the renovations could not have happened.

“They didn’t just buy materials, they helped create a calming space for people to come in every day and socialize and feel safe and uplifted.”

Investors Group provided $7,000 for new security cameras, Home Depot gave them some generous discounts, and Spark – a service of the Canadian Economic Development Network that matches professionals who want to donate their skills and time to community development projects – found an interior designer who helped Kristy navigate the maze of suppliers.

Important on-the-ground help came from Great-West Life employees volunteering their sweat equity during United Way Days of Caring. Employees spent two days painting, sorting, cleaning, and moving heavy things.

Kristy, left, chats with four Great-West Life Day of Caring volunteers at the celebration.

Kristy, left, chats with four Great-West Life Day of Caring volunteers at the celebration.

“There were a couple of men who came in and said ‘make us do heavy lifting, we want to work’ and I said ‘perfect’,” said Kristy.

Great-West Life employee Trudy Lanouette came out with three co-workers and fellow Day of Caring volunteers on Monday for the ribbon-cutting.

“It was great how they explained how this helps the community and the family centre next door,” said Trudy.

“It was quite neat to see everything that the United Way is involved in.”

Great-West Life is one of  many workplaces whose employees volunteer to help community organizations through United Way Days of Caring to complete short-term projects that require a little extra people power.

“It’s a great time. It is nice to come out with our co-workers and give back to the community,” said Trudy.

“It’s a great team-building experience as well as being able to help.”

Ready for your Christmas shopping needs!

Ready for your Christmas shopping needs!

The Spence Street Thrift Shop is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. except during long weekends.