Last year, Almost Home, a charitable organization, announced plans to open a thrift store to raise funds for their operations. This year, that idea is coming to life, with YGK Thrift is launching in June 2021.
Just recently, Almost Home received a generous donation of $30,000 from the Kinsmen Club of Kingston to support the startup cost of the thrift store. These funds were used towards the store’s renovation, store racking, and accessibility features.
“The store is set to open in early June. So far, we have a lot of excitement around the opening. We have run a couple of clothing drives, filled the store with amazing clothing, and are currently setting everything up to begin selling once able. If the lockdown is extended, we do plan to be offering clothing through online sales,” said Sam MacLeod, Fund Development Manager for Almost Home.
A number of organizations have stepped up to donate to the store. The store venture is a partnership with Vogue Charity Fashion Show, an annual Queen’s University student-led activity that raises funds for a charity and raised $22,000 for the venture in 2020. Rotary Kingston also contributed $2,000 to purchase the POS system for the store. Other notable in-kind or discount donations come from companies like Carquez Paint & Drywall, Parade of Paints, Henderson Total Maintenance, Goreway Signs, and De Longi Electric. Several companies also organized clothing drives for the store, including Service Master and Haven Home Climate Care. In addition, the owner of Gracie’s Clothing was retiring and donated its entire store’s fixtures to the YGK Thrift store.
“We have had a ton of support from our community and could not operate the store or Almost Home without the generosity found throughout our city,” said MacLeod.
In June, a soft opening of the store is organized, when things will begin to operationalize, while big celebrations await, depending on the pandemic situation. The store will be receiving donations and selling clothing items in-store, as well as online.
“We hope to have a big celebratory opening in early September where we can gather with our supporters, volunteers, and shoppers to celebrate the store and Almost Home. This is all COVID-depending though,” MacLeod explained.
“We will be offering the store for private shopping parties, and will be hosting in the store from time to time. Really, we hope people will consider stopping in and purchasing some great clothing and support our charity with their purchase.”
All the proceeds from the store will go to Almost Home, providing temporary accommodation to families whose children receive medical treatment in Kingston area hospitals. Since beginning its operations in November 1992, more than 6,000 families have stayed or made use of the home-away-from-home because they have a sick child receiving treatment at one of Kingston’s hospitals and medical institutions. Along with the temporary accommodations for families, guardians, or caregivers of children, the Home also offers services and amenities, such as a communal kitchen, living room, laundry facilities; 24-hour on-call support for families in emergencies; Ready-to-go meals, food staples, and hygiene products, and; A barrier-free environment with accessible washroom, laundry, and living spaces.
YGK Thrift is located at 165 Princess Street.