thrift store

Stores Corner — “Bringing Hope Home” Program

Stores Corner — “Bringing Hope Home” Program 1080 1080 SVDP USA

Written by: Mike McClanahan — Director of Retail Operations, Diocesan Council of Phoenix

Our ‘Bringing Hope Home’ BHH Program in Phoenix, AZ, aims to provide furniture and household items to families in need.

The program was started two years ago and we are so proud to say that we have been able to rescue and help hundreds of families.

These families may be transitioning out of homelessness, moving after a disaster like a fire or flood, relocating after an eviction, or escaping domestic violence. Even families currently living in a home but in need of furniture may be eligible for our program, depending on their circumstances. We receive funding from various sources, such as conference referrals, restricted funds for move-outs of our shelter residents, and our general SVdP fund for families and individuals housed by our Social Work team. We also solicit donations from potential donors and share family stories as part of our fundraising strategy. Referrals are placed on a waitlist and contacted in the order they were received. Deliveries are scheduled based on location and availability of items, usually within the same or following week.

We are grateful to be able to share stories like Veronica’s one of our BHH program:

Veronica Rios has struggled for the last 18-months with both homelessness and health issues. She is in need of two knee replacements because of severe arthritis, while also trying to raise and control her four-year-old autistic son; “my little one is ADHD with autism. It is hard for us to find someplace to stay and settle because other people don’t approve of how he acts,” she said.

But thanks to a new medication, her son’s demeanor has improved and is under control. And so is her mental outlook. She now has a place to call her own, thanks to St. Vincent de Paul. “Within two weeks of reaching out to St. Vincent de Paul, I got a place to live. St. Vincent de Paul also helped me with my move-in and now I get to shop for furniture,” she added.

Needless to say, Veronica and her daughter, Augustina, were excited to shop for furniture at a Phoenix St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store for their apartment. “We have nothing in the apartment right now,” Veronica offered. “Nothing at all, just our own clothes” she added. “It is exciting,” Augustina chimed in. “We get to choose everything and have an actual home. It will feel like a real home and we can continue to grow and build and move forward,“ she continued.

A day after shopping, a St. Vincent de Paul crew delivered and set up her furniture in her apartment. A tearful Veronica was overwhelmed with emotion: “I’m happy. I’m grateful. Grateful to lay our heads on a bed. Be able to sit down on a couch and watch tv and sit as a family and talk,” she said as her voice cracked fighting through the tears. “I’m just happy my kids will be okay. We’re going to be okay and I’ll have an opportunity to get back on my feet.”

Your store may have a similar program like the one described above. If you don’t, perhaps you could consider serving your neighbors in need in a different fashion.

Sometimes we help our neighbors with the specific need they have requested, but as we ask more questions, we uncover additional needs that we likely could also help them. This gives them a leg up out of their current situation and sets them up for a more successful situation.

Opportunities for us to “think outside the box” in how we serve.

The National Assembly is fast approaching in September. If you haven’t made plans to attend, we hope you sign up for the daylong Stores Meeting on September 6, 2023 in St. Louis, MO.  You will leave this meeting with valuable information to take back to your store.

The morning will start with a motivational message from Dr. Snyder-Director of the Phoenix Dental Clinic. This will be followed by important information about the National Training Store’s growth and success in Phoenix during the last three years. You will hear valuable information that could help your store grow just like the National Store has grown. You will hear two testimonials from Rick Bologna & Bryan Engle about their experience either visiting the National Training Store or who requested Jeff Beamguard to visit their store to do an assessment.

The afternoon will be dedicated to hearing information about store staffing, increasing donations, profitability, Point-of-Sale (POS), sharing of innovative ideas to think of new ways to serve and information about a future National Training Store in Fairview, IL.

For those attending the Stores Meeting in its entirety on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, they will be eligible for door prizes to include:

  • $250 Amazon Gift Card
  • Trip for one to attend the 2024 National Assembly in Phoenix (Restrictions Apply),
  • Trip for one to attend training at the National Training Store in Avondale, AZ (Restrictions Apply)
  • Dinner for 2 ($200 value) — Executive Director group only.

You don’t want to miss out!!

Please encourage your store personnel to subscribe to the to the e-Gazette, by emailing

If you have a topic that you would like addressed in a future Stores Corner article, please e-mail our Jeff Beamguard, National Director of Stores Support at

SVdP Stores Corner: Promoting Clothing Drives

SVdP Stores Corner: Promoting Clothing Drives 1080 1080 SVDP USA

Written by: Joe Lazarich, Council of Rockville Centre,  Northeast Region

A good opportunity to increase clothing donations and promote awareness of the Society and the mission is to collaboratively work together with our stores and Conferences to promote and execute clothing drives.

Below are some suggestions to help your drive be successful:

  • Select a date and time that is convenient for everyone, including the Pastor.
  • Work with the Vincentians to reserve a SVdP truck, if available, or provide a scheduled pick up at the location of the event upon completion.
  • Provide donation receipts, as requested.
  • Advertise in the church bulletin a few weeks prior to the event.
  • Promote on social media to include local groups such as “Moms and Dads”.
  • Inform surrounding parishes that do not have an SVdP Conference.
  • Ensure Conference members are present to assist and promote SVdP’s mission and fellowship.
  • Notify the Religious Education Department to inform their students who can earn volunteer/community service hours for participating in the clothing drive.

Click here see the attached flyer that can be edited with your store’s clothing drive information.

We’d like to encourage you to attend the National Assembly – Stores Meeting on September 6, 2023 in St. Louis, MO to hear information about our National Training Store in Phoenix, store staffing, increasing donations, productivity, Point-of-Sale (POS), and hear innovative ideas to think of new ways to serve.

For those attending the Stores Meeting in its entirety on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, they will be eligible for door prizes to include:

  • 1st Door Prize:  Complimentary two-day trip for two to Our National Training Store in Phoenix, AZ (up to $1,000 for airfare and hotel). Meals and other expenses will not be covered. Must be a SVdP Store Manager/Director to qualify. Must be present to win.
  • 2nd Door Prize: Complimentary Registration for one to the 2024 National Assembly in Phoenix, Arizona. (A special code will be emailed to the winner once the registration is opened up). Must be present to win.
  • 3rd Door Prize: $250 Amazon Gift Card. Must be present to win.

For those attending the Joint Lunch with ED’s-Store:

  • Complimentary dinner for two at Charlie Gittos’s On the Hill ($200 value). Drawing after the joint ED-Store meeting. Must be present to win.

You don’t want to miss out!!

Please encourage your store personnel to subscribe to the to the e-Gazette, by emailing If you have a topic that you would like addressed in a future Stores Corner article, please e-mail our Jeff Beamguard, Director of Stores Support at

SVdP Bremerton Supersizes Their Thrift Store

SVdP Bremerton Supersizes Their Thrift Store 2560 1707 SVDP USA

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Bremerton WA has proudly opened the doors to its new and improved thrift store.

With 27,000 square feet, 50% more than the previous store, new fixtures and mannequins donated by JC Penney, Silverdale and lots of unique treasures, the Conference has proudly named its newest iteration the St. Vincent de Paul Super Store.

Located in East Bremerton, Washington, the shop features a large selection of new and vintage jewelry, fabulous men’s and women’s clothing, and a robust inventory of furniture and household goods, all at very reasonable prices.

Said Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler, “This new location will continue to provide a helping hand and essential support to those who need it. Our city is stronger due to the work that St. Vincent de Paul and others do to help people in our region. No matter what the season, in the dead of winter or the heat of summer, those struggling or in need of assistance receive help and hope.”

In addition to providing goods to the community at affordable prices, the Super Store’s voucher program provides clothing, furniture and household items to those in need while providing a shopping experience that’s full of dignity and fun. For neighbors who might need an outfit for a job interview or court appearance, the Super Store will take care of them, no questions asked.

Last year, SVdP Bremerton provided 4,800 items worth $23,000 to the community. In addition, a Friends of the Poor Grant from SVdP National allowed the local Conference to give tents, sleeping bags, rain gear and blankets to those experiencing homelessness during the cold winter.

Stores Corner — Centralized Processing

Stores Corner — Centralized Processing 1200 628 SVDP USA

Do you know about the SVdP Stores webpage through the National website with tons of great information regarding all things stores!?

The National Stores Committee is a group SVdP store folks that represent each SVdP Region and are committed to best practices in support of SVdP Thrift Stores for success across the nation. Find great topical articles from the Region Reps here in the Stores Corner of the E-Gazette on the last Thursday of each month.

Centralized Processing
By: Lori Malcolm — The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Archdiocese of Boston

Clothing sales are one of the largest revenue streams for our thrift stores. A centralized processing system can be an efficient and cost effective alternative for demographics that may not be able to support the volume and quality necessary for a successful retail operation.

The supply of product and its continued rotation is the corner stone to increased sales.  Donations of textiles at the retail site is one method of product supply.  However, it may be limited in volume and quality by the retail store’s demographic. Consequently, supplemental means of supply are often times required.  These include clothing drives, corporate donations, or a collection bin system. Each should be reviewed locally for feasibility purposes.

The sorting process is the most important element of a centralized processing system. Determining the necessary labor and standards expected are most important in establishing a training regimen for staff. The site location, building, physical set up of workstations, and the material handling equipment required for efficient production also need to be carefully considered. In addition, an exit strategy for all store returns and donations which do not meet standards must be established.

Lastly, product distribution and its logistical requirements must be addressed. Standard retail store order quantities and delivery frequency must be determined based on the size of the retail store and its rotation cycle.  Delivery logistics, including transportation labor, trucks, and hours of operation must be determined and accounted for fiscally. Careful consideration must also be made for trash, both fiscally and logistically. Finally, an effective hangar management system (storage) with its associated material handling equipment requirements should be carefully considered in order to assure the most efficient and cost effective operation.

Please contact your local National Store’s Committee representative for examples of successful centralized processing retail operations. More detailed information and tours can be arranged.

Connect with a Region Rep to learn more about what they are doing in your area – list of committee members can be found under the Resources drop down at by clicking here.

SVdP Thrift Store Challenge

SVdP Thrift Store Challenge 738 416 SVDP USA

When people hear the name “St. Vincent de Paul,” their first thought is often the thrift store in their neighborhood that bears that name.

We know that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has numerous ways we help our neighbors in need. However, our Thrift Stores are an integral part of our assistance model. You may think its a great place to go to find a discount sweater, or some used cookware, but have you ever thought about how important the SVdP Thrift Store can be to someone who is re-entering the workforce after being incarcerated?

“The U.S. releases over seven million people from jail and more than 600,000 people from prison each year. However, recidivism is common. Within 3 years of their release, 2 out of 3 people are rearrested and more than 50% are incarcerated again,” said Jeff Beamguard, Stores Support Director. “50 percent of people are returning to a normal life and paying taxes again.  I have worked with thousands of people coming out of prison and jails. St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores provide a place for individuals to find clothing and accessories to find a job! SVdP has stores from coast to coast to give you a hand up, not a handout!”

Recently, the SVdP National Council’s Marketing and Communications intern, Lili Pino, decided to focus on just that. She dedicated her internship’s final project to bringing awareness to the Society’s Immersion Program by collaborating with Heather Fullerton, Associate Director of Poverty Programs / Director of Immersion Program, in the first-ever SVdP Thrift Store Challenge.

“Returning to the workforce after incarceration can be a challenging experience. SVdP thrift stores can help ease the difficulty by offering clothes, shoes, accessories, and more at an affordable price,” said Fullerton. “Anyone who has applied or interviewed for a job understands how stressful it can be to find professional clothing… Add an additional layer of being someone who is returning from incarceration and the stress can be overwhelming. Thankfully, job hunters can find a large selection of business attire at SVdP thrift stores. Items like ties, blouses, blazers, dresses, belts, and accessories are all available for a low price.”

Together, they each put together an outfit from the Thrift Store to show that returning citizens can find clothing appropriate for job interviews at affordable prices. Watch the video to see what they found!

Click here to learn more about the Immersion Program.

Click here to find your local SVdP Thrift Store. 

Employees to Wed Inside St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

Employees to Wed Inside St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store 2560 2014 SVDP USA

Wedding bells are about to be ringing in Marinette, Wisconsin as their local St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) thrift store gears up to be the place two of its employees say, “I do.” Scott Kopish and Laurie Hinkens will wed September 11, 2021 right in the middle of the sales floor in a private ceremony.

According to both of the soon-to-be newlyweds, choosing the location of their nuptials was a no-brainer. “This place (SVdP) has that feel-good feeling,” Hinkens said. “We come to work with a smile on our face every day. That’s a fact.”

“When I was sent here on a light-duty assignment, I walked in and I instantly felt safe,” Kopish said. “I don’t know how I can explain it. I just felt safe and I thought, you know what? We met here. It would be great to get married in this building. I just thought it meant something.”

Kopish and Hinkens are both long-term employees of SVdP who were both struggling physically prior to starting in their roles. Kopish has been with SVdP for over three years, starting through the Worker’s Compensation program due to an injury as a truck driver. Hinkens started nearly two years ago as a volunteer who had recently received a scary health prognosis.

Hinkens said she felt drawn to Kopish within minutes of meeting him, but wanted to warn him of her medical issues.

“When I saw him for the first time, I got a big smile on my face, and boom,” Hinkens said. “But, I told Scott within the first couple days that I started working that my gastro doctor said I had just one to two years to live.”

While Hinkens was physically struggling when she started with SVdP, a lot has changed since then. Her health has drastically improved, but she looks back on the early days of dating Kopish and how his concern pulled her through the hardest times.

“Other employees would say, ‘Scott’s just so scared for you. He wants to help you. He wants to be with you,’ and I had never felt like that before. Ever,” Hinkens said.

That reassurance from Kopish was a building block for their relationship, even though Hinkens wasn’t the only one who felt reassured in their relationship. Prior to meeting Hinkens, Kopish was leaning on his faith to get him through his difficult times as a single father.

“I remember sitting at the picnic table outside of work and praying to God. I said, “God, send me an angel. Send me somebody who is good for me and my daughter. I will not accept any less,” Kopish said. “And then, boom.”

Despite the grim timeline years ago, Hinkens has been improving physically despite all odds. “The pancreas that was almost shot is now better,” Kopish said. “That just doesn’t happen with a pancreas.”

Hinkens says that their relationship and both of their belief in God are two of the biggest reasons she has been improving, both mentally and physically. “We are so far from perfect, but if one of us is down, the other one is up,” Hinkens said. “God has made the relationship like a Lego that fits with another Lego.”

While wedding planning can be stressful, the couple said the process has been easier than they imagined for their relationship. “Everything has been perfect. Whatever perfect is. If it’s not perfect, it’s a hair under it,” Kopish said.

This is the first wedding ever held at Marinette’s St. Vincent de Paul location, and according to Executive Director Ashley McKinnon, it is an important reminder of the nonprofit’s mission.

“Our organization thrives on nurturing individuals who are struggling,” McKinnon said. “Watching the relationship between Scott and Laurie blossom has been truly beautiful. To see people down on their luck, find each other and push one another to grow in a positive way is what we are all about.”

Providing meaningful employment and volunteer opportunities, our 450 thrift stores are a significant driver of the Society’s mission and effectiveness. Local Conferences distribute clothing, furniture, and household goods to people in need through SVdP Stores vouchers, providing a dignified shopping experience. Profits from our stores contribute millions of dollars for Councils and Conferences to assist neighbors in need in their communities.

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