Local dignitaries and members of the community came together on Wednesday morning to celebrate the grand opening of The Clothes Line thrift store in Bradford West Gwillimbury.
This is The Clothes Lines' second location, with the original shop located in Alliston, run by registered charity CONTACT Community Services.
"Welcome to the grand opening of The Clothes Line in Bradford!" said an excited Emily McIntosh, executive director with CONTACT Community Services. "This project truly reflects the light, the light of community, the power of community, the bringing together of people with a like-minded vision, and motivation and we are so grateful to all of you for being here today and for all of our donors for contributing."
The idea to expand the shop into Bradford came from local realtors, Anastasia Orlando and Rose M. Sorbera, who have both utilized CONTACT's services in the past.
"They are the kickstarters for making this a reality," said McIntosh.
The store will work with local residents to help redirect unwanted clothing and small household items from the landfill by reselling them at affordable prices for people of all economic backgrounds. The shop will also offer free clothing to those in need.
Orlando says the store is a way for the realtors to give back to the community as an appreciation for all the help they received from CONTACT when going through their own struggles and hardships.
"It's more than just a charity, it's our journey, it's something that we really believe in," said Orlando.
Five years ago, Orlando found herself at CONTACT, after losing her job in the finance industry while on maternity leave.
"I was feeling lost, I didn't know what to do," remembers Orlando.
With the help of CONTACT, she was able to find a new job in real estate, get back on her feet, and hasn't looked back since.
"It's been an amazing journey for me, because if it wasn't for services like this to help me and pick me up again...I wouldn't be where I am right here, so it's very important to share our story and give back," said Orlando.
Sorbera shared her experience using CONTACT at a time when she was going through a difficult divorce that left her alone to raise her two young boys.
"I was homeless three times, without a car, and I basically had to start from scratch," she said, noting it was resources like CONTACT who helped her to rebuild her life. "Where I am now is in a position to give back, so Anastasia and I are extremely thankful to CONTACT Community Services to share our passion to give."
"We have become passionate to help other families in our community in ways that our community has helped us," added Sorbera. "We have collaborated our hearts with this project....and all of our accomplishments here today have been possible with the generosity and loving support of everyone."
CONTACT Community Services has been in operation in South Simcoe for 40 years, providing employment and housing services in addition to free clothing for those in need out of The Clothes Line shop.
The store is run 90 per cent by community volunteers with profits going to support CONTACT Community Services.
For the month of December, the Bradford Clothes Line location will only be open on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with plans to expand operating hours as the store adds more volunteers.
Clothing donations are also welcome on Mondays, and drop offs can be arranged by contacting the CONTACT Community Services office directly.
The Clothes Line is located at 95 Holland St. W., Unit #2, adjacent to the CONTACT Employment Services office (which provides free assistance and coaching to local job seekers to secure meaningful employment).
To learn more, visit their website here.
The opening of this new location would not have been possible without the support provided by a number of community donors, including local painter Guido Velasquez of Guido’s Superior Paints, Canadian Tire, Decorator’s Edge, Bradford Blinds Plus, Carolyn’s Colour Consulting, Douglas Law Firm, Mortgage Agent Debbie Viveiros, and local realtors Rose M. Sorbera & Anastasia Orlando (Anastasia & Rose Team – iProrealty).