Toys at the pop-up thrift store

Peaceful Paths is resuming its popular Pop-Up Thrift Store this week after the pandemic paused all of the domestic violence center’s in-person events.

The three-day Pop-Up Thrift Store sells new and gently used items donated to Peaceful Paths. In pre-COVID-19 times, the non-profit has run the sale four times a year, but hasn’t it hosted a live event since spring 2020, said Stephanie Freas, the development director for Peaceful Paths.

“We are really hungry to see the community again,” Freas said in a phone interview.

While COVID-19 put the pop-ups on hold, donations to Peaceful Paths did not stop, and the resumption of the pop-up store means the non-profit can open up some needed storage space and raise funds at the same time.

Clients and their families benefit directly from many of the donations to Peaceful Paths, but the non-profit sometimes gets more than it needs for its clients or gets items, such as windshield wiper fluid, that they can’t use directly.

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“We get things that are not necessarily things we need for our shelter, but we are happy to take because we can put them in the pop-ups,” Freas said.

Pop-up stores have raised between $2,000 and $7,000 for Peaceful Paths. The amount of money raised by each pop-up varies with the donations and community interest, but Freas said the center would be excited to raise $2,000 to $3,000 at its first pop-up of 2021.

The net proceeds all go to the center’s clients, helping to provide services, programming and direct client support.

About 75 to 85 percent of the items in the pop-up this week will be new items, Freas said. Many of the new items come from businesses with damaged boxes or discontinued items.

The pop-up will feature books, kitchen appliances, dishes, toys, games, children’s clothing, holiday decorations, and more.

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While the pop-up doesn’t typically sell a lot of clothing, the financial and legal woes of LuLaRoe, a clothing line sold through direct sales by individual distributors, has meant that several people who once were involved with LuLaRoe have donated boxes of clothes to Peaceful Paths. Many of those LuLaRoe donations will show up in this week’s pop-up, Freas said.

The pop-up store is being set up in a large multi-purpose room on the Peaceful Paths campus and will be “COVID cautious,” following CDC recommendations on limiting exposures. Masks will be required, and a volunteer at the door will limit the number of shoppers in the pop-up to 10 people at a time.

“The room is huge, and [the limit] will allow people to browse and not feel like they are rushed or that there are people in their space,” Freas said.

If you go:

  • Time/Days: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Friday
  • Location: Janet Larson Community Education Room, Peaceful Paths Outreach Center, 2100 NW 53rd Ave. in Gainesville
  • COVID Precautions: Masks required, 10-person limit

Mainstreet Daily News correspondent

Camille Broadway is freelance writer and editor. She has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and journalism education. Bad speller. Baseball fan. OG sci-fi nerd. She's always looking for good story ideas.

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