Steeple People’s nonprofit thrift shop is back in business, and customers lined up outside the door on opening day Oct. 21. Some neighbors came back two or three times with donations in hand, so replenishing the shelves hasn’t been a problem.
“We beat the record sales for Steeple People overall on the first day,” said store manager Joe Partyka. “A lot of foot traffic.”
“They’re happy we’re back,” said Molly Johnson, assistant manager.
Steeple People’s former location at Franklin & Lyndale was purchased for new development, and the board spent years looking for a new location they could afford. Some had given up hope when the shop closed in 2017. But a handful of volunteers kept pushing to revise the business model and continue searching, eventually securing the space in Stevens Square.
The new store layout is roomier than the original, and that’s by design.
“I walked around with a yardstick,” Partyka said. “…We’re trying to make it look very homey and cozy.”
They’ve allocated space for comfy chairs surrounded by books, where people can relax with a magazine from the free box. A children’s area is stocked with a chalkboard and toys.
Shelves hold jewelry, small electronics, World War II prints, old typewriters, never-worn Minnetonka Moccasin sandals, a mug from Matt’s Bar, vintage Prada shoes and an alligator purse.
“We get some pretty fun stuff,” Partyka said.
“We come around the corner wearing things all the time,” Johnson said.
Prices are a bit higher than the former location, to cover the cost of the pricier lease and raise more money for charity. But Partyka said he’s still aiming to price goods accessibly for all, stocking luggage and essentials for people without a permanent address.
A box near the entry collects functioning, clean donations that a single person can carry. The Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church also collects donations on Sundays from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Staff aim to reuse all donations in some fashion, sending overflow to the nearby Clothes Closet or Salvation Army.
“We’re trying not to do the landfill as much as possible,” Partyka said.
The nonprofit gives proceeds to a variety of charities selected by the board, including the Dignity Center, which aims to help people reach stability.
A grand opening celebration with live music is Nov. 4.
Old School operates at 1901 Nicollet Ave. Wednesday-Friday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m.-6 p.m.