MILTON — The Gateway House of Peace Thrift Store officially opened its doors this month, helping to raise funds for end-of-life services provided by the Gateway House of Peace.
Located at 408 Geyser Road, proceeds from all of the thrift store’s sales go toward the Gateway House of Peace’s services. Elaine Pearson, director of the Gateway House Thrift Store, said they began renting the space in December before officially opening on March 1.
“It’s been wonderful,” said Pearson of the experience since opening. “We’ve been blessed with a lot of donations from the community. Our sales have been great. The community has been very supportive.”
The Gateway House of Peace offers end-of-life care at no cost to its residents or their families. Typically, the Gateway House has raised money through a variety of fundraisers. Pearson said the thrift store will allow Gateway to see a year-round revenue stream.
“We’re hoping the thrift store is going to help alleviate all the fundraising that we have to do,” Pearson said. “That was our ultimate goal. We’ve talked about it for five to ten years now, doing this, and we just never did it. Finally, we said, ‘We’re just going to do it.’”
After searching for a location for roughly two years, Pearson said the Geyser Road location became available “out of the blue.” She said having the space available is “a wonderful feeling.”
“It’s an accomplishment,” said Pearson. “We’ve been planning for so long, and for our dream to come true, it’s an absolutely wonderful experience and wonderful feeling.”
The Gateway House of Peace runs an annual yard sale to help raise funds, with Pearson saying the thrift store began as an extension of the yard sale.
“We have hundreds and hundreds of people that come through,” said Pearson of the yard sale. “That’s really why we wanted the thrift store, because the yard sales were such a big hit, and great fundraiser.”
Pearson said the funds raised at the thrift store will go toward day-to-day operations at the Gateway House, including paid nursing staff, utilities and bills, and more. The thrift store has just one paid employee, manager Cassandra Roner, who is assisted by a variety of volunteers.
Roner said it has been “amazing” to see how many volunteers have offered their time to the store.
“I’m involved in a lot of organizations, from sports to my church, and sometimes it’s hard to get volunteers,” said Roner. “So to see people come in here and want to volunteer their time, it shows you what the mission of Gateway House means to people.”
Pearson also mentioned the community has been very supportive, noting that many local businesses helped provide various donations when the store was being prepared for opening.
“So many of the businesses, there’s so many of them that have donated to us with paint, and jewelry counters, and shelving,” Pearson said. “They’ve been absolutely wonderful, donating items to us to get started.”
The store’s location on Geyser Road is also an advantage, just over a mile from the Gateway House of Peace. Pearson said that while the thrift store’s current location is “a little bit too small,” it provides strong connectivity between the two locations.
“I really wanted to stay close to Gateway House,” Pearson said. “I didn’t want to leave the area for a bigger space. It’s connected. People know, just go around the corner and there’s Gateway House.”
The store will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony “once the weather gets nicer,” said Pearson. She said they hope to eventually raise $100,000 yearly for the Gateway House of Peace.
“What I’d like to see is $100,000 a year,” said Pearson. “That’s my ultimate goal. If we make that, I’d be very happy.”