Staff from No Longer Bound, the Forsyth County faith-based men’s regeneration program, are working hard to prepare for the opening of the organization’s new Dawson County thrift store location.
The new Dawson County thrift store, which will be located at 70 Dawson Village Way between Launch Trampoline Park and Planet Fitness, has been a long time in the making, according to NLB Thrift Operations Director Michael Eberhart.
“This has been like two years it’s taken to put all this together, so we’re excited,” Eberhart said. “We were gonna be on the other end of this strip, but we ended up going on this side and getting a good deal.”
The new thrift store will offer furniture, clothing and housewares to the community, and will also have a large area to drop off donations at the front of the store.
“Dawson County let us stripe off the parking lot in front, so people will be able to pull up and not have to get out of their cars to drop off donations,” Eberhart said.
The organization currently has two other thrift stores, in Forsyth County and in Woodstock, but the Dawsonville location will be the largest. according to Eberhart they anticipate the most foot traffic of all their stores will come through the new location. Eberhart and his team are optimistic that the new store will help increase their organization’s income.
“We wanna be able to cover all of our operating costs with revenue and donations, so the plan is to open a couple stores a year for the next three years,” Eberhart said. “Right now our stores are all kind of spread out, so we wanna add more.”
According to Eberhart, he and his team decided to come to Dawsonville for their next thrift store because they were attracted to both the location and the community.
“We really like the Dawsonville community, and it’s not too far away from our main campus and our store in Cumming which this store will support,” Eberhart said.
The income from the thrift stores goes towards offsetting the costs to put men through the NLB program. According to Eberhart, NLB is different from other rehabilitation centers because it’s a 12-month program, rather than a 30-day or 90-day program.
“This is longer-term instead of shorter; the reason other ones are like that is because they rely on insurance, so we actually don’t take insurance and we’re able to supplement most of the cost of somebody’s stay with us,” Eberhart said. “So we’re able to offer a year-long program that’s also clinical and also faith-based; I don’t think there are any other programs that are in all three of those categories.”
NLB Executive Director Edward Bailey said that what sets the NLB thrift store apart from other thrift stores is that it allows residents to support a local mission with local recipients.
“Some thrift stores are mission-based places but you don’t know where that mission is or what it’s doing sometimes,” Bailey said. “So this is saving local lives, men that come from Dawson County and the surrounding counties that connect to Dawson County, so it’s that good social support of ‘I know I can come here and get something affordable and nice or drop off donations’ and it’s helping people and reconciling families in your community.”
Over 1,000 men have gone through NLB’s rehabilitation program, and the organization treats about 80 men per year.
According to Bailey, an act as simple as donating to or shopping at a NLB thrift store is a way to make a lasting impact on those struggling with addiction.
“Sometimes you look at something like addiction and say ‘there’s over 900,000 people addicted in Georgia, what am I going to do about that’, but when you have something right here in your backyard that gives you the ability to do for one what you wish you could do for everyone,” Bailey said. “And then it feels like you can actually make a difference.”
Bailey said that men who enter the program pay for about the first 100 days, and the cost for the remaining 12 months of their stay is offset by revenue from the thrift store and donations to the organization.
“If we had to charge a man what it really costs to us it costs us about $55,000; so he’s really just paying for about his first 100 days,” Bailey said. “So between donors and businesses like this that we have, that pays for that next nine months, which is really the most important time. That first 100 days you’re getting him sober, helping him come out of denial, and then the next nine months is digging into what drives that addiction in the first place.”
Eberhard said that they hope to finish the store and officially open at the beginning of April.
Currently, NLB is in need of donations, volunteers and paid employees for their new thrift store. For more information on NLB and how to volunteer, donate or apply for a job, visit https://nolongerbound.com.