TERRE HAUTE —
The small store was packed as it opened for business, and organizers were optimistic their neighbors will see the sense in spending a few cents in the neighborhood.
The Common Cents Quarter Store hosted its grand opening Saturday inside 1301 Locust St., just two doors down from its parent organization, the Ryves Neighborhood Association.
Store manager and RNA treasurer Shelly Dugan announced to the shock of many that more than 100 customers had passed through the register line one hour after opening.
RNA director Leah Myers said community support for the project, which will serve as a fundraiser for the association, has been strong since initial planning began in February.
“We had a crowd out here before we opened up,” she said, adding the ceremony included a dedication by Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett.
The store offers used clothing and household goods brought in for donation. Prices range from 25 cents to about $5. Myers added that donations are tax deductible.
“This is recycling at its finest,” she said.
Mayoral candidate and RNA member Fred Nation came for the big day, a stack of books in hand for purchase.
“I am so proud of these folks,” he said, explaining the months of preparation that went into the endeavor.
Dugan said the idea came from the Helping Hands store in West Terre Haute. After checking into their operation, she encouraged Myers to consider the project as a revenue-generator for RNA.
“This is my baby,” she said proudly behind the counter.
Dugan said she lives about three blocks from the store, and credited the West Terre Haute group with helping coach their cross-river neighbors in the process.
“Because what they’re doing is working,” she said.
The RNA currently has about 75 members and meets the third Wednesday of each month, Myers said. The non-profit group operates under the umbrella of Ryves Hall and Terre Haute Catholic Charities, and is primarily grant- and donation-driven. The volunteer-operated store should provide another vehicle for revenue which will go back into neighborhood projects, she said.
At the same time, volunteers can learn retail skills, and those seeking entry or re-entry into the workforce might use it as a resume-builder, she said.
“Customer service is one of the things that we really want to teach here,” she said.
The store will operate Monday and Friday between 9 a.m. and noon, Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. Detailed information is available at www.ryvesneighborhood.org, and Myers said the group is launching a Facebook page.
“You never know what you’re going to find in here,” she said.
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.