There is a new retail business in downtown Seneca Falls and it won’t make a dime. But that’s the way it is intended to be. Instead of profits, all proceeds will go to feeding the hungry in Seneca County.
The Seneca County House of Concern, faced with a staggering growth in need and dwindling government funding will be opening the New Beginnings Boutique next door to Women Made Products and directly across Fall Street from Parkers restaurant.
The new venture will be run by store manager Lynne Wimmer. Wimmer joined the staff last month for the opening day on Wednesday, June 19th. The staff of the House of Concern and volunteers worked for the past month preparing the space by tearing down walls, putting in new floors and creating a dressing room and sales counter.
The New Beginnings Boutique has begun accepting clothing as donations or on consignment. The plan is to buy clothing outright for resale. Persons with items for consignment are asked to make an appointment to have their clothing evaluated for possible purchases and to limit the number of items being offered to 15 pieces. The store concentrates on selling high-end and designer clothes, handbags, shoes and jewelry for women.
“This store will be quite different from the New Beginnings Thrift Store which shares space with the House of Concern food pantry on State Street,” says House of Concern Board President, Stephen Beals. “We’ll be looking for high-end merchandise and Lynne, Bob and the volunteers have been working hard to make the store an inviting place for bargain hunters. There’s a real trend for shopping at consignment stores, and we were very fortunate to find someone with the expertise and experience of Lynne to help us create a great little shop right in the middle of downtown Seneca Falls.”
But the bottom line for both New Beginnings stores is that all proceeds go directly for buying food for Seneca County’s hungry. Although the organization has been around since 1969, there has never been anywhere close to the number of food insecure families. “Our raw numbers of families and individuals served has more than doubled in the last five years, while at the same time our funding from government sources has been cut significantly. We simply had to make significant changes to respond to the growing needs in our community,” says House of Concern Executive Director Diane Draheim. “In May we were responsible for providing more than 17,000 meals for people in or county.”
The store opening on Wednesday was actually a “soft” opening, with a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting scheduled for July 17th. The store hours on Wednesday will be from 11-5 and the store will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays. Wimmer says they will determine what hours they will be open based on store traffic and customer demand. The store is looking for volunteers with a strong retail background and great customer service skills who would like to offer their expertise to help with the new effort.
The New Beginnings Boutique is located at 91A Fall Street and the phone number is 316-568-4401.