Small Business Saturday: Home Start

November 26, 2016

Support Small Business Saturday & Re-Purpose for a Purpose

Laura Tancredi-Baese, CEO of Home Start, Inc., had a vision for the dilapidated property before her. The goal? Turn it into an amazing retail space that would also strengthen local families and protect children from abuse. Believing there are no such things as throw-away buildings, items, or people, its theme would be Re-purpose for a Purpose. Everything and everyone can have a second chance!

Home Start had just received a generous estate gift, and it was Laura’s dream to open a social enterprise Thrift Boutique (not just your grandmother’s thrift store!). The shop would raise vital funds for Home Start’s child abuse prevention programs, give clothing, housewares, and furniture a second chance for a good home, and – most importantly – would help young homeless mothers ages 18-24 re-building their lives in Home Start’s Maternity Shelter Program.

After extensive planning and much hard work, including salvaging/re-using much of the property’s original woodwork, Home Start’s one-of- a-kind Re-Purpose for a Purpose Thrift Boutique opened for business.

The project has an innovative and holistic approach to workforce readiness for a population of young women who are economically disenfranchised, typically have little to no employment history, and whose challenges include those relating to their role as mothers of children under the age of 5 and/or a history of domestic violence or homelessness. Working in the Thrift Boutique instills confidence and self-esteem into these young women to prepare them for the workforce and independence.

Lindsey, their current Thrift Boutique Assistant manager, is living proof that the program is a success. Last year, this 20 year-old homeless mom began volunteering in the Boutique. She wanted to gain experience and confidence for entering the workforce while in the Maternity Shelter Program.

At first, Lindsey was very shy and would only work in the back sorting room folding clothes. Eventually, with gentle staff encouragement and guidance, she became an employee and continued to take on more and more responsibilities. Finally, just last month, Lindsey opened the store by herself and ran it the entire day. Total sales reached a near-record high! She now loves being up front running the store and greeting customers. Home Start’s Boutique has helped transform Lindsey from a timid young girl into a confident young woman ready to soon move out on her own to support herself and her adorable 3 year-old son.

Come find the perfect holiday treasures for friends and family this Small Business Saturday at Home Start’s Thrift Boutique! Your purchase and support will help strengthen local families and protect children. Also, don’t forget to take clean out that closet and check your garage. Find those gently-used clothes and household items you no longer need, then give them a second chance and bring them to Home Start’s Thrift Boutique…you’ll be giving moms like Lindsey and her son their own new opportunity to thrive. Happy shopping!

Home Start’s Re-Purpose for a Purpose Thrift Boutique is located at 3611 Adams Avenue in Normal Heights. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday 11 am – 6 PM. www.home-start.org / 619-906- 5996