After its grand opening almost a year ago, Second Chance Thrift Shoppe, located inside the Garden Center Services (GCS) building at 10444 S. Kedzie Ave., is offering a wide variety of products, and officials are planning to make an even bigger impact in Mt. Greenwood.
The shop, which opened last June after relocating from Lemont, supports programming for GCS, which serves people with special needs.
Clients work at the shop, along with staff and volunteers.
“Everyone’s got a little niche that they like to do,” said Manager Tina Knies. “This one does the clothing; this one does the housewares. It’s like we’re all little moms. … It’s homey.”
GCS converted a space that was previously used by clients; the second floor contains administrative offices.
The spacious and clean thrift store offers an array of donated products, ranging from children and adult clothing to records, CDs, books, children’s toys and jewelry.
Many products are priced at only a few dollars.
When GCS rearranged its locations last year, all programming was moved to the GCS state-program location in Burbank at 8333 S. Austin Ave.
Executive Director Gerry Beagles said the thrift shop’s location closer to Burbank is beneficial.
“Every penny goes toward the people you support—every penny,” he said. “I’m so thrilled with this location because, most days, we have a group of participants who come and they’re both volunteering and learning more skills in terms of what we do here at the thrift store. The fact that they now have this as one of the places that they’re able to go, that is huge.”
Clients might arrive in groups to work, Knies said, then return later in the week for a shopping night.
“It’s always fun,” Knies said. “They come right before closing, for that last hour or 30 minutes—that’s their late-afternoon shopping trip. It’s great. That’s always fun to see the groups come in, to help out and then to just shop. They tell me all about who they’re buying for.”
The shop has a “small but mighty” group of volunteers, Beagles said, but he hopes to attract more, including from local schools; volunteers receive a 50-percent discount on their purchases.
Earlier this year, the Bed Bath and Beyond in the Chicago Ridge Mall was among the 10 locations slated to close in Illinois. GCC purchased numerous fixtures from the store to display inventory at the thrift shop.
Fixtures such as tables can display more merchandise.
“Now, we have a lot more room to put a lot more things,” Knies said, “and have it look nicer and be more organized.”
Knies said shoppers “just love to find little odds and ends.”
She’s happy with the level of donations to the shop.
“We’ve had a lot of donations and a lot of really great things and interesting items that come in,” Knies said, “just such a good variety of things that people are looking for. A lot of moms are coming in—young women coming in, they’re moving, getting into a new place, and they’re looking for a lot of housewares; they’re looking for basically everything.”
Second Chance Thrift Shoppe is open Tuesday-Saturday, from 10 a.m to 4 p.m.
Donations are accepted on Thursday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
GCS will host its second annual Sunny Smash co-ed 16-inch softball tournament on June 3 at St. Christina Fields, 111th Street and Central Park Avenue, in Mt. Greenwood.
For more information, call (773) 941-4481 or visit the website for Garden Center Services.
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