Mennonite Weekly Review for June 18, 2007, describes how four women from Altona, Manitoba, opened the first Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift shop in 1972. From this humble beginning there are now more than one hundred shops in Canada and the United States. Since 1972 they have raised more than $200,000,000 for MCC.
Following is a timeline for our local MCC thrift shop, Gift & Thrift:
- October 1, 1982 – Harrisonburg Gift and Thrift (an MCC SELFHELP and thrift store) opened for business in a newly renovated rental space at 227 North Main Street. The store, staffed solely with volunteers, operated with a total floor space of 2500 square feet.
- July 18, 1988 – Incorporated as a Non-profit 501(c)(3) by the name of Harrisonburg Gift & Thrift Shop, Inc.
- September 30, 1988 – Gift & Thrift purchased the entire rental property, renovated and remodeled the space, creating a retail area of 7500 square feet.
- January 1, 1996 – Gift & Thrift hired their first paid managers.
- January 2003 – The Gift & Thrift board approved the purchase of the nearly 28,000 square foot Ray Carr Tire building plus the 5.5-acre lot at 731 Mt. Clinton Pike.
- February 2004 – A newly renovated shop opened its doors to the community, offering opportunities for donating to, volunteering and shopping in three distinct divisions: Artisans’ Hope (a fair trade shop), Booksavers of Virginia (a used book store), and A World of Good* (an MCC thrift shop).
- June 2007 – The organization paid the remaining building debt from the 2003 purchase.
- 2009 – A new building was erected on the lot and opened its doors in August. Artisans’ Hope moved to the new building along with administrative offices. The new structure also contains a resource room for the local MCC representative, a community room, and rental space for Everence and A Bowl of Good Café.
*Upon realizing the confusion created by re-naming the thrift shop, the board chose to revert to the original name – Gift & Thrift – for the thrift operation.