‘Opportunity’ knocks in Windsor

Published 10:06 am Tuesday, March 9, 2010

WINDSOR – One Windsor church is making a new attempt to make the community better.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Windsor has opened The Opportunity Shoppe, a thrift store located on Granville Street, with the intent to use profits toward outreach projects in the community.

According to Opportunity Shoppe Manager Elizabeth Spruill, the idea came from the church’s minister, Joe Cooper.

“His church in Wilmington started something similar to this and it was a good community outreach,” Spruill said. “The church kind of jumped on it.”

The result was a thrift store located in downtown that sells gently used and quality items, including clothes, shoes, pocket books and household items.

The proceeds from the store will be used for community outreach programs.

“We’re hoping to have a grant program that will allow us to award grants to social service organizations for local projects,” Spruill said.

The project seemed to be one that would benefit the community in a number of ways.

“We just really felt like there was a need for something like this,” Spruill said. “There were few clothing stores and we wanted to provide a place to get quality items in Windsor.

“We also saw the need for outreach in the area and we hope we can do a lot of good with the money we make,” she added.

The store has a fulltime employee and a manager, but relies heavily on volunteers from the church. There are eight regular volunteers and more than 25 people who have given of their time.

It also relies on the donations of those who want to aid the mission. While they are appreciative of all donations, not everything ends up for sale in the Shoppe.

“We carefully sort through (the donated items) so only the nicest, cleanest clothing goes on the floor,” Spruill said. “We take everything. We carefully sort it and make use of everything that we’re given.”

Some of those items make their way to the Salvation Army or a migrant worker’s group or to local organizations that can use them.

Spruill said there was also a free bin behind the store that contained seasonal items such as coats and other articles that can be of use.

Because of the nature of the business, The Opportunity Shoppe has been able to secure two grants. One came from the Bargain Box, a thrift store in Cody, Wyoming that the Shoppe was modeled after. They also received a Main Street Grant from the town of Windsor.

The Opportunity Shoppe is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday. It is located at 124 Granville Street.

Those wishing to make donations or receive more information can call 794-5595.