This post was contributed by a community member.
Nicknamed “Racks”, the two-and-a-half-year-old thrift boutique operated by the Long Valley Junior Women’s Club is expanding.
After nearly closing a year ago, the now thriving boutique has realized a need for more space and will be moving down the street into a more visible, larger location. Previously located at 28 Schooleys Mountain Road in Long Valley, the non-profit shop will literally be rolling their racks down the street, expecting to open at 20 Schooleys Mountain Road in mid to late May.
Finding an affordable space in Long Valley wasn’t easy, and when the shop’s previous building had a larger space become available, the club knew they had to make a fast decision – are we ready to expand and take this fundraiser to the next level was the question posed to the club’s board in February. The idea of increasing the rent for what is merely a community fundraiser was daunting enough, but also to be considered was the amount of renovation that was needed for the desired building. “We knew we wanted to be in this building” said Amanda Janke, the PR rep for the shop. “This was the building we had started out in, albeit in a very tiny back corner, and now we had the opportunity to take over the entire store-front”. Renovations included installing new flooring, ceiling repairs, new electrical and a huge amount of clean-out and painting. While the club has almost 60 members, many are still home with small children, and doing that amount of work themselves was simply not realistic. “We decided to put a call out there to see if anyone was willing to help us out, and what happened from there truly amazed us” shared Janke. The first to step forward was Dan Sheola, owner of Square One Building, LLC in Long Valley. “Dan graciously offered to donate all the labor and some of the materials to get the space renovated, and was instrumental in garnering several other donations including all of the lighting from Chester Lighting, materials donations from Juliano Siding, and a dumpster from Montella, Inc.
Before the work could begin, negotiations for the rent had to be favorably completed, and the Juniors realized that while they wanted this building, they couldn’t afford to go-it alone. The landlord had suggested a few others who had expressed interest in renting the building, and after the club approached them, a partnership was formed. 20 Schooleys Mountain Road will soon be home to Blue Owl Wood Signs, Abigail Thomas Photography and Racks Thrift Boutique, and this trio couldn’t be more enthusiastic about how it all came together. “We had our first meet at the space during one of the snowstorms – there was no power, it was freezing, the place was a mess, but we all got the same vision – a really amazing space where community businesses could come together, and we really felt the sky would be the limit on what we can do with this space in the future”.
What was expected to be a few weeks project turned into a few months as problems and increased costs were discovered. The town of Long Valley has always been a tight-knit community, and when someone needs something you find an outpouring of support. This situation was no different. Faced with more costs than the club’s budget could cover, and a timeline that was now threatening to include double rent, the call once again went out for assistance – and was answered by a slew of community businesses. Materials were covered by generous donations from Majestic Kitchens and Baths of Long Valley, John Dagon Complete Home Renovations, C.R. Shotwell Landscape Management, Home and Castle Re-design and Home Staging. Painters from Wall Doctor and Carrera Reliable Construction & Remodeling came by to help out, AJ Interiors stopped by to offer window treatments and design ideas, Jeff and Adam from SDR Electric worked tirelessly to get the electric up to code – and there were no shortage of volunteers helping clean out debris and load the dumpster provided by Montella, Inc. “Our hearts are full, we cannot thank our community enough, and know we will make them proud by growing this already popular fundraiser with the new, larger location” said club president Andrea Alfieri.
The club wishes to thank everyone involved and is looking forward to opening their doors at the new location soon. They are always looking for clothing donations, volunteers to work at the shop and of course repeat customers!
For current store hours or information about volunteering, please contact RacksThrift@gmail.com
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