COVINGTON, Ga. - Tina Clark, the manager of Reach Thrift Store had a vision for opening a thrift store as part of her church’s outreach ministry.
“We opened Reach Thrift Store in July 2012. We wanted the store to be an outreach for our church, which is Central Church. The money we raise through the thrift store, we use it for outreach. Through the thrift store, we want to make sure our items are affordably priced, so low-income families can shop here,” Tina Clark said.
One of the things that make Reach Thrift Store unique is its commitment to affordable prices, even lower than alternatives, such as Goodwill.
“For instance, our adult clothes and shoes are $2.99 each and all our children stuff are 99 cents because we don’t want anybody to do without. And if a family can’t afford it, we sometimes give 3 outfits for free per person in the family,” Clark said.
With Reach Thrift Store, the goal is to offer visitors a cheaper alternative. The store sells many common items, such as clothes, household items, furniture, knick-knacks and more. All affordably priced, people come in and donate items to the thrift store that then can be sold to members of the community, particularly low-income families.
When the store first opened, Clark was happy she was contributing to her community. “I was excited. It was a vision that God laid on our hearts and it came to pass. We opened the thrift store through our church ministry and we have been in the area for five years,” Clark said.
Once you walk in, the staff, which consists mostly of volunteers are there to make you feel welcome. “People always say they feel different when they are here. We try to address people with personal greetings and talk with them when they walk in the door, which doesn’t always happen in stores these days,” Clark said.
Shoppers and staff have gotten to know each other over time and some visitors have become new volunteers for the store and ministry. “We have customers whom we have gotten to know. They will sometimes come back and ask us to pray with them. Some customers have become church members and have also volunteered two to three times a week for our ministry,” Clark said.
“Most of our staff consists of volunteers, former customers who fell in love with our ministry and wanted to help. They came and served here,” Clark continued.
The Reach Thrift Store has made a big impact in the lives of Covington residents who have visited the store, some of which include former prisoners, low-income individuals and teenagers.
Tina Clark wants the community to know that they are here to serve.
“When we opened the store, we wanted to make a difference right here in our own community,” she said. “We are a ministry first, thrift store second.”