The Tacoma Rescue Mission opened its first thrift store as a method of bringing funds to the mission to do its work for the homeless. Mission Thrift, located at 2502 6e Ave., opened to the public on July 9 and will have its grand opening on July 22.
Spacious and well organized with plenty of room to move around and browse, the store offers a wide range of items: clothing of all kinds for men, women and children; a wall of shoes with some new and some slightly used; jewelry in its own showcase; household items and interior decoration; bedding and comforters; furniture; a large selection of toys and games; DVDs; and more. Fitting rooms are available to try on clothes before you buy, and an ever-growing regional sports section with fan gear from the Mariners, Seahawks, Rainiers, Sounders, and other local teams. A rotating seasonal clothing section currently features summer clothing and will change throughout the year.
All stock comes from donations made to the Mission Donation Center currently housed at Holy Rosary Church. What doesn’t go directly to mission customers, and the homeless people the mission helps through its search and rescue program, is stored to keep thrift store shelves and shelves full.
Darrin Miller is Tacoma Rescue Mission’s Social Enterprise Director whose job is to start businesses that would generate revenue to support the mission. His experience in the military, commercial sales and marketing, youth and juvenile justice ministry and leadership positions combine for his work with the Mission. He and Myron Bernard, the Mission’s director of community engagement, work in tandem to make sure the store runs smoothly.
Miller said opening a thrift store has been a longtime Mission goal. “We knew we were going to open one, we just didn’t have the space yet. As soon as we got this building, we started moving. Our goal is to open more stores, so that’s our first.”
All revenue generated goes directly to the Tacoma Rescue Mission for all programs run at all mission shelters. On the walls of the store are inspirational posters with photos of real people who have found hope and renewed life through Mission programs. “Every purchase helps a neighbor like Terry access the housing and employment support they need to find their way to stability,” a poster reads. “Every purchase helps a child like Bella have a safe and stable space to just be a kid in the midst of crisis,” another said.
Mission Thrift is spacious and has new items on shelves and shelves every day.
Mission Thrift’s gift card system gives Mission customers a helping hand when looking for a job. With a gift card, a client graduating from a Mission program and needing formal clothing for job interviews can obtain a gift card at no cost to them.
The Mission Thrift staff includes nine employees, including five graduates of the Mission’s New Life recovery program.
“They have a passion for the rescue mission because the mission saved their lives. They make great employees,” Miller said.
Erica Nelson is just one of those success stories. There was a time in her life when she was dependent and homeless. With nowhere to go for help, she finally found the dawn of a new life at the Tacoma Rescue Mission. She graduated from Mission’s New Life recovery program in 2017, went to work for Habitat for Humanity, and today is a retail manager for Mission Thrift.
“I have a really big thing for the Rescue Mission,” Nelson said. “The New Life program has helped me in a way that no one else could have. I couldn’t be more grateful for that. I brought my children home with me and I never no reason to look back.
Mission Thrift is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday. Donations are always needed and can be given at the store during business hours and at the Holy Rosary Church site Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Mission does not accept major household appliances, damaged furniture or mattresses. Community volunteers are also welcome to help sort and rate items at Mission Thrift.
Learn more about MissionThriftTacoma.orgE-mail [email protected] or call (253) 844-4147.