A multi-purpose thrift store opens its doors

By Patty Hullett
For the Daily Light

There are many beneficial thrift stores scattered all across Ellis County, but this new one in Waxahachie carries a variety of reasons for customers to shop.

Virginia Sevier, organizer of the Love Your Neighbor thrift store, cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the store on Friday.

The Love Your Neighbor organization has been looking for a place to call its own for quite some time. The love-giving program was started January 2020, and it has been spreading joy in various ways by helping others and recognizing groups for their outstanding ways to better serve their community. This group was started by Pastor Bruce Zimmerman of Waxahachie Bible Church.

The “Love Your Neighbor” (LYN) message is now broadening its scope to include 11 different Ellis County churches, as well as more than 100 businesses that are actively participating. The new location for the Love Your Neighbor Thrift Store and Resource Headquarters is 301 N. College St., in the northern part of downtown Waxahachie.

Virginia Sevier, current owner and director of Unity Thrift in Waxahachie, is a member of LYN. She is also a business associate with the owner of another city thrift store called Port Horizon. She relays her story of this new business and how it all took place.

Pastor Bruce Zimmerman, center, with Waxahachie Bible Church, heads up the Love Your Neighbor Program. Pictured at left is Scotter Holland with the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, and Marglen Kinikin, at the ribbon cutting of the LYN Thrift Store on Friday.

Sevier explains, “Markeith was the former owner of Port Horizon, but in talking to him recently, he revealed that he had found a more lucrative business venture for himself in the future. I thought this would be a great location and vehicle to raise funds for the Love Your Neighbor organization, so I asked if he would consider us taking over the store and assuming his lease. I then called Pastor Zimmerman and his church finance assistant, and filled them in with the details. Thankfully, everyone was on board with it, and so the business transfer came to be as of June 1, 2021. I was asked to get the store in move-in shape and operable since I had experience in this type of business previously and currently. We only had three days to move everything out, time to clean, and then go through and organize what we were going to keep, but the Lord seemed to be on our side."

They had more than 30 members volunteer, Sevier says, and had a successful "soft opening" on Saturday, June 5. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Friday, June 18.

The LYN Thrift Store will obtain all the proceeds from their sales, and this income will be used directly to pay the rent and utilities to maintain the facility – and the overage will fund upcoming worthwhile projects in the Ellis County community.

Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce VP Julie Farrar,  Waxahachie Bible Church Pastor Jim Markle, and thrift store organizer Virginia Sevier are pictured at Friday's ribbon cutting ceremony.

Some of the store’s offerings are: men’s clothing, women’s clothing, children’s clothing, household goods, kitchen items, home décor, bed and bath linens, small appliances and electronics, small furniture that one person can lift, craft materials, games and puzzles, picture frames, and other artwork. Also, there is a toy section in the store, as well as a media area (like CDs, books, etc.), and wardrobe accessory items like handbags, shoes, wallets, belts, scarves, jewelry, and more.

Sevier relays, “Not only will the LYN campaign benefit from the success of the business, but the store will be providing a less expensive alternative to retail stores for financially challenged neighbors. It will also be offering a unique and convenient resource for on-line sellers trying to make extra income. Junkers and collectors see it as a treasure hunt. Many people say they like to treat themselves without breaking the bank. This, too, saves a lot of good, reusable stuff from going to the landfills.”

Sevier says Unity Thrift and this new store will issue care vouchers for persons identified by county human service organizations to be in need of help, as a result of fire or some other disaster, with material goods such clothing, or home goods.

Excitement to extend their ministry

As a nondenominational Christian ministry, it is LYN's hope that in the process of running the store they "can meet, share, and love on people as Our Lord and Savior has commanded us to do. We want to build lasting relationships by showing that we care and are here to help each other in any way that we can. In other words, LYN is an outreach ministry in its truest form,” Sevier added. 

The thrift store location will also become the official headquarters for the LYN campaign and its accompanying supplies and promotional items. There will be a special area set aside for all of the materials and resources that will be available for current and new joining members of the LYN efforts.

The LYN Thrift Store will be closed on Sundays and Mondays. Tuesdays will serve as a “work day” for volunteers to restock the store, so the doors are closed to the public on

these days. The regular days of operation will be Wednesday through Saturday, and the daily hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is parking on both sides of the building and in front. 

Since this particular store is a non-profit, the business is strictly built for volunteerism.

According to Sevier, “There are two time slots available each day we are open. Volunteers can sign up to serve from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or noon to 4 p.m., Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Each time slot needs at least two volunteers – one to man the front counter, and one to move around answering the back door for donations, or for helping customers. Right now, we are very short on Thursdays. For each volunteer who completes a four-hour shift, they will receive a 50% discount on items they want to purchase on the day they volunteer. This discount is not extended to the volunteer’s family or friends, and it is only allowed on the particular day they volunteer.”

According to Pastor Zimmerman and Sevier, “We are very excited that we will become more visible to the community, and that people will become more familiar with what we do and why we do it. In turn, this will help us to grow in membership and support. We want to create a glowing sense of connectivity and camaraderie throughout our county – neighbor loving/helping/caring for all our neighbors.”

“From my own experience,” says Sevier, “The thrift industry is very profitable, especially

right now. Its biggest drawback though, is it is very labor intensive, but as it is written in scripture, ‘many hands make the work light’. LYN’s store probably won’t ever make enough money to build a building, but it will certainly do as well as Baylor and First Look Thrifts do locally, and that’s pretty darn good, considering they usually gross around 100K annually. Ask any thrifter and they will tell you, ‘If I shop one, I shop them all’ - every single store has different stuff and there is treasure waiting to be found in every corner.”

Sevier’s favorite thrift disclaimer is: “When you shop thrift, you get a glimpse of everything the material world has to offer – heirlooms, imports, high end items, handmade and artistic items, as well as name brands Americans are so loyal to.”

The LYN group wants to commend Waxahachie Bible Church’s Administrative Pastor Jim Markle for his work in getting all the financial and legal details in order to open the doors of the Love Your Neighbor Thrift Store in such a short period of time.

But they are now open for business and they invite the public to come out and see what they might find inside the walls of their new place.