At a glance
The No Longer Bound Thrift Store, 315 Dahlonega Hwy., is open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Donations can be dropped off at the store, or larger donations can be picked up. To schedule a pick-up, call (678) 679-1172. For more information, visit www.nolongerbound.com.
Part of a local men’s ministry has a new home.
The No Longer Bound Thrift Store recently moved from its previous location in south Forsyth to a 7,200-square-foot facility just north of Cumming.
No Longer Bound is a residential Christian ministry that helps men who are struggling with alcohol and drug problems, while building job skills. The men, who are all at least 18, commit to living at the facility for 10 months.
The thrift store, along with a few other work opportunities, has been part of the program for several years.
“The thrift store was once located on property at our home building,” said Shawn Brown, director of the store. “Then we built a 6,000-square-foot building three years ago.”
That site, he said, “wasn’t getting the traffic” leaders would have liked, so they decided to move to a more visible location.
Jon Howard, No Longer Bound’s accounting director, said the ministry purchased the site at 315 Dahlonega Hwy. in September.
“Since then, Shawn and several others have been working around the clock to get it ready,” Howard said. “We wanted to make sure we did it right.”
He noted the new site needed some changes, since it was designed to accommodate several different businesses, rather than one large one.
Brown said improvements to the facility also included flooring and lighting to make it have more of an upscale retail feel.
“We walked into a lot of different [thrift stores] and they were all kind of blah and boring,” he said. “We wanted to build an atmosphere that people would like to come to.”
The store held a “soft opening” on Jan. 16, but a grand opening celebration is planned for Feb. 25.
Howard said the grand opening likely will include a range of discounts and promotions.
In the meantime, customers can take advantage of good deals on products ranging from appliances and furniture to clothing, jewelry and art.
Brown said the new store has been drawing plenty of traffic since its opening.
“We’re averaging around 150 customers a day,” he said. “We’ve gotten excellent feedback from them. They love what we’ve put into the environment.”
Brown said store employees are all No Longer Bound residents. The program currently has about 35 men in Forsyth, as well as another 35 at its west Georgia location in Waco.
“We rotate about 10 guys at a time [at the store],” he said. “There’s also some that work at the distribution center in south Forsyth. They clean everything and get everything floor-ready down there.”
Howard said the best part of the thrift store is that all proceeds go back into the ministry.
“One hundred percent goes back into helping save men’s lives,” he said. “And it’s not just about those men. It’s about those women with tears streaming down their faces. It’s about the families.
“We’re all about introducing those men to Christ and freeing them from the burdens of addiction.”