Thursday, September 13, 2012

Living Green goes Off the Rack with a nifty new name

I’ve written before about Barrie Free Clothing and Nifty Thrifty budget clothing store. Over the course of the spring and summer, they have undergone renovations and a re-birth, and are ready for you to return.
This Saturday at 12:30 PM, we officially baptize the new operation, featuring three operations under one roof: Off the Rack, selling serviceable or re-purposed used clothing; the ReSkill Institute, passing along traditional knowledge, and the refurbished Barrie Free Clothing Centre.
At the ceremony, retiring director Valerie Scrivner will be thanked by Living Green, the host charitable organization, for her years of service. Mayor Jeff Lehman returns to officially re-open the new Centre, which has been ramping up over the summer. Our mission is to provide great, free or inexpensive clothes in a fun and conscious atmosphere, and teach basic life skills for people to manage their lives and benefit others. 
Not only has the Centre been renovated and redecorated, the hours have expanded to 10 – 8 Monday to Friday and 10 – 6 Saturday through the diligent efforts of store manager Dave Reynolds. The location is still behind 110 Dunlop St. W., by the parking lot off Toronto Street, around the corner from Meineke.
As I mentioned, Barrie Free Clothing remains a core function, providing free clothes to people in need. For regular “shoppers”, there is an item limit, but exceptions are made for sudden need, like those who have lost housing to fire, or arrived in town without a proper wardrobe.
Paired with BFC is Off the Rack, like a thrift store with lower prices, carrying items that have been repaired or re-purposed in conjunction with the ReSkill Institute, and consignment fashion clothes. Together, they keep clothes out of the landfill by recycling them to new owners.
The ReSkill Institute, directed by Mike Fox, is the newest aspect of the project. It carries on and expands the previous classes in sewing, mending, and knitting. These traditional money-saving skills are at risk of being lost, so we are recruiting seniors and others with useful skills to come forward and share their experience by helping with these low-cost classes. Future plans of ReSkill, in partnership with Living Green, TransitionBarrie and Back to Basics, include classes in gardening, cooking, food preservation, and other do-it-yourself activities that will be of growing importance in a low-energy, low-carbon local economy.
Donations of serviceable used or unwanted clothing are still key to the operation, so please think of us when clearing out your closet, and bring them in (during our open hours only, please and thank you). One thing that hasn’t changed is how this Centre runs through community volunteer effort. If you’ve never been here before, please join us on Saturday. If you’ve been in before, perhaps even volunteered in the past, we’d love to welcome you back to our new incarnation, to join our new team.
Written for my Root Issues column, published in the Barrie Examiner as "Local clothing and thrift stores ready for more".

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of LivingGreen and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

1 comment:

  1. A budget store is ideal for everyday clothes or urban streetwear. It is one of the best way to conserve the natural resources used in making textiles and at the same time provides the clothing one needs.