The Mustard Seed Kamloops will re-open its thrift store at 346 Seymour St. this spring after having shuttered the downtown location seven months ago.
The non-profit is now seeking gently used clothing, décor, jewelry, small household items and more in preparation for the re-opening.
The vision for the space is to have what the organization calls “an upscale thrift store,” along with an adjoining coffee shop, which will serve the community and programs of The Mustard Seed.
The re-opened thrift store will support various programs, including a new employment program, which uses employment coaches dedicated to helping people find jobs. The coaches help clients update their resumes and practise interview skills.
A new co-ordinator, Diana Corriveau, who has 25 years experience in retail, has been hired to work in the new thrift shop, which is expected to open by the beginning of March.
Corriveau has called Kamloops home for the past six months, having moved from Eastern Canada.
Corriveau said renovations to the building are still ongoing, but noted the finished store will have an “urban barn” rustic look, with white walls and an open concept.
“Myself and the managing director Mario [Borba] we both found it kind of choppy,” Corriveau said, adding they want bigger fitting rooms and a more inviting space.
A production space on the second floor is being constructed and a wall is being added to create a separate area for the coffee shop, which will open after the thrift store is relaunched.
Corriveau said The Mustard Seed is looking for volunteers to help with renovations, particularly an electrician to help with wiring work.
“Whether you’re shopping or you’re donating merchandise, you’re giving to the community,” Corriveau noted.
Asked what an upscale thrift shop will entail, Corriveau said she’s looking to keep the store clean and uniform, selling “the best of the best,” with quick turnover with product.
“My goal is not to have the store look junky,” she said, noting she wants people to be surprised they are in a thrift store.
Corriveau said she is looking to partner with local businesses in town to donate leftover merchandise they are not selling — something The Mustard Seed does in Edmonton.
“We don’t want that to hit the landfill,” Corriveau said. “We’re hoping some local businesses will donate that so we can sell it at a more discount price in the thrift store.”
Corriveau said they plan to keep item costs low.
Including herself, the thrift store will employ five full-time employees and have a complement of roughly 20 part-time workers and volunteers.
The Mustard Seed also has volunteer and employment opportunities that will be available to those enrolled in the newly launched Men’s Sober Living Facility at the organization’s outreach centre at 181 West Victoria St.
“Residents can volunteer nine to 12 hours per week for the first few months,” said Mario Borba, managing director of The Mustard Seed Kamloops. “After volunteering for a few months, there will be opportunities for them to be employed and all proceeds from the social enterprise will either pay for salaries or to be re-invested in the Mustard Seed programs.”
People can drop off their used items at 181 Victoria St. and 346 Seymour St.