A Message from Neighbors’ President and CEO Regarding the Neighbors’ Clothes Closet Thrift Store:

On May 13, Governor Walz announced that retail stores can reopen on May 18 provided a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan is in place.  I am grateful for the Governor’s guidance on how we are able to open the Clothes Closet Thrift Store (CCTS) at some point in the future.

At Neighbors, reopening our CCTS has unique challenges beyond those of a more typical retail establishment.  Here are three of them:

First, we rely on volunteers to operate the store.  An employee of Neighbors manages the CCTS with the help of dozens of generous volunteers who support her.  As we move toward reopening, we first need to work with our volunteers to establish a safe and comfortable environment for them to return to if they chose to do so. We will hold off on any reopening date decisions until this process is complete.

Second, the items we sell are donated.  We are grateful for members of our community who support us by donating their gently used clothing and household items.  Without this support, there would not be a CCTS.  In the COVID-19 era, the receiving, sorting and selling of used merchandise requires more care prior to handling. There is much to learn about additional precautions that need to be taken when handling and selling used merchandise.

Third, we provide a variety of services in addition to the CCTS all in the same building.  The CCTS is one aspect of the larger organization that is Neighbors, Inc.  Since the onset of the pandemic, we have focused our efforts on providing food support.  We have reinvented how we deliver that support and continue to evolve our practices to meet the needs of the community.  Prior to re-opening the CCTS, we will first be focusing on re-introducing clients and food shelf volunteers into our building.

In conjunction with the above items, we are preparing a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for the CCTS and monitoring peer retail thrift stores to see how they are responding.

I look forward to welcoming back our volunteers, customers and donors once we are confident that we can provide a safe environment with which to shop and give of your time, talent and treasure.

If you have questions, please contact me directly at charlie@neighborsmn.org.

In service,

Charlie Thompson