FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 20, 2018
Margot DeConna, President Alisha Katz, VP of Communications
Junior League of Gainesville Junior League of Gainesville
m: 954-240-9819 m: 352-284-1515
Gainesville, FL – The Junior League of Gainesville Thrift Shop has ceased operations at 430 North Main Street. The Junior League’s shop closed to the public on January 3rd and will not reopen.
The Junior League of Gainesville first opened a “Salvage Shop” in 1935. In 1959, the shop moved to a permanent location, and over the next several years, that location saw upgrades that included air conditioning and expanded operational space. In 1990, the Junior League of Gainesville’s Thrift Shop moved to its home at 430 North Main Street. The Thrift Shop served the community by providing new and gently used clothing and household items. Each year, the Junior League Thrift Shop partnered with as many as 40 non-profit and community organizations to distribute hundreds of vouchers for free clothing and household items to women and children in need.
For decades, proceeds from the Junior League of Gainesville’s Thrift Shop benefited the mission of the Junior League; an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. In addition to the community voucher program, the Junior League of Gainesville’s Action Against Hunger initiative works to reduce food insecurity and hunger in our community. Through Action Against Hunger, Junior League members have provided hundreds of hours of hands-on community service providing food to children and families in need and securing funding and in-kind donations to enable the group to distribute over 200 pantry bags at its annual Miracle on Main Street holiday toy drive each December.
Although the Junior League of Gainesville’s Thrift Shop has long served the North Central Florida community, declining sales, increasing operation costs, changing volunteer availability, and growing competition in the resale market, meant Thrift Shop operations are no longer a sustainable means of support for the organization’s mission. Many other Junior League chapters across the country have also ceased operations of their thrift shops. Junior League President Margot DeConna said, “Like many other thrift stores run by Junior Leagues nationwide, the Junior League of Gainesville’s thrift shop faced a variety of challenges over the past several years. Unfortunately, our shop just couldn’t sustain the sales necessary to continue to operate according to the parameters set forth by our membership. We are committed to continuing to serve our community’s greatest needs in innovative ways.”
The Junior League of Gainesville will host a large sidewalk sale this spring. The Junior League is also working with its partner agencies to provide a way for their clients to continue to redeem vouchers for clothing and other items during designated hours, by appointment, and at the sidewalk sale later this spring. A committee of Junior League members is working on a plan to continue to support the voucher program long-term.
“The Junior League of Gainesville has been training leaders and working hands-on in our community for 82 years,” DeConna said. “As time changes the needs of both our membership and our community, we remain focused on dynamic future funding strategies that will not only support the Junior League’s mission of training our members as civic leaders but will also give our members the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the community we so deeply love.”
About Junior League of Gainesville, Inc.: The Junior League of Gainesville, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable with a focus on reducing food insecurity in Alachua County. The Junior League of Gainesville involves more than 350 women who believe in making a difference in their community. Learn more