San Dimas resident Casey Cox admits his new thrift store is not like many others. When well-intentioned donors attempt to drop off their unwanted second-hand items at New Unto Others in Glendora, he goes to great lengths trying to convince them he doesn’t want their stuff.
Accepting the random donations would create an overwhelming back-log of inventory, that the newly-opened store would need to hire staff to go through it all. Then the thrift store would be like the , and New Unto Others, said Cox, is not the Goodwill.
Instead of serving as a dumping ground for the seemingly endless amount of unwanted items, the store, located at 175 N. Vermont Ave., aims to generate funds for local community service programs. Local nonprofits, volunteer groups, churches and homeless shelters across the East San Gabriel Valley -- referred to Champions – are responsible for hosting their own donation drives, turning over their secondhand items to New Unto Others. Each item is tagged under the organization that donated it. At regular intervals, Our Community Network – the nonprofit organization under which New Unto Others was formed— will make donations based on store sales back to the organizations.
About a month ago, New Unto Others opened its doors to its 6,000-square-foot facility, which was once the city’s one-room movie theater. Before it was a movie theater, it was a post office, said Cox.
Fitting , because Cox said the purpose of the store is to also send out a message.
“What I realized is that all these good causes compete with one another for the same dollars,” Cox said “These groups are all needing money to function and they’re all crying out to the same people who have the big hearts. My heartbeat has always been how do we not compete, how do we collaborate? How do we change the way we see things?”
The store offers an array of clothing for men, women and children, shoes, purses and other secondhand items donated by 15 community organizations, including the Shepherd’s Pantry, New Song Church, San Dimas Chamber of Commerce and La Verne Chamber of Commerce, with many more about to join the effort.
Currently running with an all-volunteer staff, Cox said the store’s mission is to ensure that most of the proceeds actually go back to the Champions.
“We are generating much more locally and we are sustaining much more locally,” said Cox. “We don’t have the overhead, we don’t have the bureaucracy and we don’t have the capital to pay people…this is truly a labor of love.”
The concept for New Unto Others began four years ago, when Cox, a pastor with Living Faith Fellowship in Glendora and two businessmen envisioned a store that would help local community programs and service groups raise money.
Cox said New Unto Others encourages community members to become more involved in their community by donating under their own favorite local organization. Volunteers can also contribute their time by helping the store sort through clothes and tag them.
For San Dimas resident and volunteer Amber Thomas-Kellner, volunteering with New Unto Others provided a chance to become involved in her community following her layoff from her previous job.
“I wanted to donate my time to a place where I can go not only help others but help myself feel better,” said Thomas-Kellner.
For now, the challenges of opening a new business during a recession is not lost on Cox and the owners of New Unto Others. Getting the word out about the store with virtually no budget has made marketing the new store a slow process.
Still, Cox has faith the store has the resources it needs to succeed.
“We started with a belief that God has provided all the resources in this community to see the change that it wants,” said Cox. “As we begin to connect the resources and the people, transformation happens.”
New Unto Others is open at 175 N. Vermont Ave. in Glendora. To schedule a donation day or for more information, call 909-731-8300.