Options HIV West Yellowhead has recently opened a store called Then and Now, located at 121 Athabasca Avenue in Hinton.
This venture is a collaboration with the Yellowhead Emergency Shelter (YES) for Women.
“We are very excited about the store,” said Store Manager Linda Lundrigan.
For the store, it came down to funding and certain things that agencies aren’t funded for, depending on their contracts, and it makes for gaps in the services that can be provided.
“We were looking for ways to have sustainable income that could be used to fill some of those gaps,” Lundrigan said.
YES will share donations that cannot be used in-house with Then and Now while continuing to give to the Share Shop in Hinton.
Lundrigan was president of the women’s shelter for many years.
Majorie Luger, from the shelter, mentioned that other shelters across the province were also doing second-hand stores.
“It seemed like a good idea,” Lundrigan added.
With approval from their board to pursue the idea, they began the planning stage.
They interviewed other shelters throughout the province and asked them what worked and what didn’t work for them.
“It was a slow process,” Lundrigan said.
“It’s been a few years that we have been working on this.”
A few years back a local ladies’ wear shop closed and Then and Now ended up buying from them all the fittings and fixtures that are needed for their second-hand store.
After accumulating all the fixtures, the hunt for a location was on.
While they were down in the valley looking at a neighbouring property, they noticed a vacant space at 121 Athabasca Avenue.
A few weeks had passed with no response about the space.
Lundrigan then received a phone call from Lori Wilcox, a Hinton resident and owner of the property, who was willing to rent the space over to Then and Now.
After a space was acquired, the team just got started.
They had volunteers who came in, and everyone took turns with the paint brushes and rollers and got the place looking really sharp.
Then and Now had a steam laundry set on site, so everything that comes in is laundered to ensure that items are disinfected and fresh smelling.
Right now, people are able to drop off donations only during business hours, but Then and Now will eventually have a bin behind the building that people can drop off donations outside of business hours.
They would also like to eventually be able to offer pick-ups.
“I think the pick-up piece will be helpful to people that just want to get their closest cleaned but don’t have a way to get their stuff out of the house once it’s all packed up,” Lundrigan said.
Then and Now is not taking certain items such as furniture or books.
The store primarily has a lot of women’s and children’s clothing and would love to start getting more men’s clothing donated, so there is more opportunity for them to have something for everyone who comes into the store.
Then and Now is always thinking to the future and would like to get access to some funding at some point to start an employment experience program in the store.
Someone could come in and gain some work experience, and the store would be able to outfit them for the interview.
When the person was successful in getting a job, Then and Now would be able to make sure they have clothes to wear for the new job.
“That’s the dream,” Lundrigan said.
Then and Now is still sharing donations with the Share Shop.
Staff would also like to thank everyone who has donated so far and everyone who continues to donate to them.
If you would like to donate, you can reach out to Then and Now via their Facebook page or call the store at 780-865-1455.
Ali Howat, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh