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Thrift shop offers jobs, opportunity
Thrift WEB 1
The Pier Foundation’s thrift and consignment store, which opened Sept. 22, provides a place of employment for several special-needs residents. - photo by Jim Dean

At a glance

The Pier Foundation Thrift and Consignment Store, 5185 Browns Bridge Road, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. For more information, visit www.pierfoundation.org.

Up until a few weeks ago, Mitch Holland said he would lie around watching TV all day after sleeping until noon.

The 24-year-old, who has some disabilities as a result of cerebral palsy, said he had “hoped for better” after graduating a few years ago from North Forsyth High School.

“I worked at a day care center for a while, but then I got laid off due to the economy,” he said.

Since then, he had little to do. 

But then Cindy and Hutch Matteson came into Holland’s life through a special needs Sunday school class at North Lanier Baptist Church, where Hutch Matteson was then pastor.

Through working with adults with disabilities in the class, the Mattesons developed a vision to help folks like Holland and their own son, Josh, who has Down syndrome.

“There was just nothing out there for these kids after they graduated from high school,” Cindy Matteson said.

Matteson said she was told her son might get a job in a manufacturing setting, doing some repetitive task away from most other people.

“I said, ‘No, he can do more than that and he likes being around people,’” Matteson said. “We said if there’s nothing out there for him, we’ll just create something for him.”

That’s when she and her husband decided to develop The Pier Foundation to provide a place for adults with disabilities to work.

The foundation’s thrift and consignment store opened Sept. 22 with six special needs employees, including Josh Matteson and Holland.

Cindy Matteson said word spread about the foundation over the summer and numerous donations flowed into the thrift store on Browns Bridge Road.

The store is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. An official grand opening is set for Oct. 22.

“That day will be a big family festival,” she said.

The store takes most items, including antiques, clothes, shoes, jewelry, housewares and furniture in good condition.

Hutch Matteson said a consignment program will likely begin soon.

“That will be for big-ticket items worth at least $300,” he said.

Cindy Matteson said she also hopes to hold flea markets twice a month, where outside vendors could bring their items.

The store’s employees seem to relish the opportunity.

Like Holland, floor manager Mike McCarron, who also has cerebral palsy, said he had little to do but “sit at home and be bored” before the thrift store.

“This gives me somewhere to be and people to be around. It’s good being able to be somewhere different,” McCarron said.

Cindy Cirricione, mother of employee Gina Cirricione, said the experience had been “wonderful” for her daughter.

“She loves being with people, but before this she had nothing to do and she still wouldn’t have anything if not for this,” she said. “This really is a God-send, it really is.”