Community Donation Center and Thrift Store employs homeless
By Hillary Gavan
JANESVILLE — David Hendren hopes to offer Beloit and Janesville an affordable furniture option, and a way to help their neighbors. He’s opening Community Donation Center and Thrift Store, 2502 Center Ave. on May 1.
With the economic struggles of the Stateline Area, Hendren is planning to offer furniture, tools and other household items at what he calls “stupid low prices.” As someone who has started his life over, he knows how difficult it can be for people to get a house or apartment set up.
If someone is looking for a particular item, Hendren said he can hunt it down for them. For those who can’t pay right away, he has layaway. For anyone in desperate need of dishes he plans to give away free care packages to help people start up their kitchens.
Hendren’s accepting donations during business hours in hopes of helping others help themselves. He said there’s a segment of the population that can’t find affordable items to start their lives. Unemployed or formerly homeless men, for example, or women who are victims of domestic violence don’t have inexpensive options to set up a household. There are also college students or people struggling with low incomes who can’t find a dinner table or beds for their children. Retail store prices are out of control and even non-profit thrift store prices keep climbing, he said.
Hendren plans to sell furniture in good condition in a showroom style atmosphere. He said there won’t be the rows of knick knacks, stuffed animals and high prices common at other well-known thrift stores.
Born in Milton, Hendren lived in the Oregon area for 27 years running thrift stores, but wanted to return to the Midwest. He worked on a farm in Afton before he found what he considers the perfect location for his business, between Beloit and Janesville. He hopes the store will be a connecting point for the two communities.
He then connected with Mike Tearman, a volunteer who is running the Abundant Grace Drop-In Center, a homeless shelter for men in Janesville. Hendren has brought on board one of the homeless men, Lonnie Thompson, to help paint and organize the facility.
Tearman said he was impressed how Hendren is trying to create jobs for those in need as well as provide a service to them at an affordable price.
“It’s win-win for our community,” Tearman said. “The economy dictates this kind of an outreach.”
Hendren plans to network with area agencies to help those in need find jobs or household goods. He plans to host art classes and various vendors to help people connect with their neighbors.
For now, Hendren is accepting donations to fill his center. He will accept any donation in decent condition. Items he’s not able to sell he will give away or donate to other agencies.
For more information contact Hendren at 608-931-6070. Store hours will be Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m and Sunday noon - 5 p.m.