400 Studio: The Place of Forsyth County
This story appears in the March issue of 400 Life.
When a group of nuns started a thrift store in Forsyth County with their new nonprofit organization more than 40 years ago, they couldn’t have predicted the impact it would continue to have.
The Place of Forsyth County’s thrift store, at 2550 The Place Circle, has become a pillar of the community, both as a source of affordable clothing and goods for those in need, and as a major source of revenue for the organization.
Indeed, because of the store’s growth — it sold more than 350,000 items in 2019! — The Place is able to put 92 cents of every dollar they receive from individuals toward programs and services to help people who are struggling become self-sustaining.
“We’re very proud that 92 cents does go directly into programs and services for people,” said Jacob Granados, director of purposeful engagement at The Place. “That’s in large part because of the success of our thrift store, and the generosity of individuals and companies who donate their goods.”
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The Place was founded in 1975 by nuns who saw the area had no access to social services. Part of the organization’s beginning included opening the first thrift store, out of a small house off Tribble Gap Road, to provide local residents with some of their essential needs.
About 20 years ago, The Place moved to its current location, off Antioch Road, and the thrift store came with it.
And the thrift store’s core purpose remains as a place for the community to find many of their essential needs at affordable prices.
The most popular items are women’s clothing and furniture, Granados said, but the thrift store’s inventory runs the gamut of category. They have books, DVDs, and old records. They have holiday decorations and tableware. They have sports equipment and children’s toys. They have jewelry and rugs of all sizes.
“If the product is good, we’ll put it out,” Granados said.
Donations come from all socioeconomic backgrounds, Granados says. Once, the store received a Rolex and a Louis Vuitton bag. Vintage collectibles come through often, too. The store recently had a Truetone radio and record player from the late ’30s to early ’40s.
No matter where they come from, The Place organizes usable donations and displays them in five-week rotations. Some categories of items aren’t accepted, like sophisticated technology or massive furniture pieces, to minimize the cost of taking things to the landfill.
But otherwise, The Place welcomes donations. They keep the thrift store operating as a place that embodies the values of the organization itself.
“Our commitment to the community is to be a place where every person, dollar and hour has a purpose,” Granados said, “and we really hold true to that.”