Portland Thrift Shop Grand Reopening
by Tony Zeli
They have a slogan at this Portland thrift shop, “If we ourselves wouldn’t wear it, use it, or put it in our own homes, then nobody else is going to wear it, use it or put it in their homes.”
That has translated into high quality at great prices for thrifty shoppersfor the last 22 years. But early this year, the beloved Good Cause thrift store operated by the Sisters of Mercy almost had to close their doors.
The store was run independently, but under the umbrella of Catherine McAuley High School, with donations going to financial assistance for students at the private Catholic school. McAuley High is transitioning to a non-sectarian school, and Good Cause thrift shop no longer fit in their organization.
But the workers decided that “Good Cause” was not only a name, but a cause they should fight for. After hundreds signed a petition, and still more donated thousands, the feisty thrift store was able to find a new sponsor.
On April 26th, the Sisters reopened their store as “Still a Good Cause” and will now work with Mercy Healthcare Foundation to benefit the McAuley Residence for single mothers in recovery from drug and alcohol dependency.
This is good news for the people of Portland. With the closing of the downtown Salvation Army and Paul’s Market, there are fewer and fewer affordable downtown stores for those struggling to make rent and get by.
“We are very committed to the community, the elderly, the homeless, to keep them supplied with everything we carry in the store,” says Board President Michelle Smith.
The Mayor agrees that thrift stores like Still a Good Cause are an important resource for many residents, especially as rents spiral upwards.
“For folks who live paycheck to paycheck trying to keep food on the table and pay their rent, a place like this makes their life just a little bit easier,” says Mayor Ethan Strimling.
The West End is a vital part of keeping Still a Good Cause open.
According to Board member Gary Savage, “The West End is such a vital part of people donating to the store. We see so many people from the West End not only buying things — you know, antiques and stuff— but also donating stuff.”
The store excepts donations on location at 16 Forest Avenue, and they offer pick up. Furniture is in high demand, in fact they expanded the store to fit more pieces in the front windows of the store.
“[Furniture] stays literally for a matter of hours,” says Katie Guzman, director of the store.
“We take everything,” Katie reminds us, “The only thing we don’t take are mattresses and computers, big televisions. But anything else, clothing, hard goods and furniture… It doesn’t matter if it is a five dollar little stool to a $300 dresser.”
Still a Good Cause is always looking for volunteers, too. The Sisters need help working the floor and with laundry. They steam, iron and fold everything before putting it up for sale.
Consider shopping this Portland thrift shop, donating your unwanted items, or volunteering. It will help a neighbor in need, because this store is more than a thrift shop, it is truly a good cause.