Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic
After nearly two years, the Naples District Council of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul has completed its recovery from Hurricane Irma with the grand opening of its new Thrift Store in East Naples opposite the Town Center Mall.
The anticipation for the opening was so strong that a line of people was ready to peruse the wide selection of merchandise in the store nearly two hours before the scheduled grand opening on Nov. 9.
“The response has been wonderful,” Kim Schul, Executive Director of the Council, said. “This is big deal for us. It has been a long process for us to get here. We found the right space in the right location, right on U.S. 41.”
With a selection of items from armoires, recliners, couches and other types of furniture to clothing for all occasions – a day at the beach or even a wedding – the new store has just about everything one can ask for in a thrift store.
Judging by the long lines at the check-out, good bargains could be found. Each of the first-day patrons were given a cookbook as a special gift.
Father Timothy Navin, Pastor of San Marco Parish, blessed the new store and participated in the ribbon-cutting. “This is very impressive.”
Candice Burke, who found a shawl, lamps, bookends and a door decoration, said she loved the new store. “It is so welcoming and inviting,” Burke said. “The prices were great, so I know I will be back again soon because I am always looking for a bargain.”
With the funds generated through the thrift stores and generous individual donations, the Council provides a variety of services while working closely with eight area parishes. Those services include emergency family assistance to about 18,000 per year and can consist of financial support and vouchers for items from the thrift stores. In addition, the Council operates Meals on Wheels – serving more than 250 people each day, as well as a Choice Food Pantry – which helps about 70 people daily.
It was in September 2017 when Hurricane Irma destroyed the previous thrift store on Davis Boulevard, leaving a single store in Bonita Springs the only steady source of income for the Naples District Council to operate.
Jose Granda, President of the District Council, said the destruction of the former Davis Boulevard store caused a significant decrease in revenue that was sorely required to further the aid to the needy in the Naples area which the Council provides.
“We can now put that behind us with this beautiful new location,” Granda said.
It is hoped that the new store will enable the Council to “ramp up” aid to the needy through expansion into new programs and restoration of others which were cut back in response to the revenue losses, Granda explained. “I am hopeful the store will help provide some of this needed income so that we can continue our many programs to aid the poor in our area,” he said.
The new facility, located at 3810 Tamiami Trail E., is open for business in the Sherwin-Williams plaza, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday. The location will also serve as a drop-off point for donations which will be cataloged, sorted and out on the sales floor as quickly as possible, Schul said.
“This location is great, but we are also limited in how much we can store, so turnover of items will be key,” she explained.
The Council also operates a thrift store at 3725 Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs and a Boutique store in Unit 7 at the same address.
Car and furniture donation pickups can be arranged by calling 239-775-2907. Donations of clothing and other items may be dropped off at any of the Council stores.