Returning to its roots and avoiding a complete closure, the St. Justin Thrift Store will reopen as the Outgrown Shop in January. As the cost of business became too much to handle, St. Justin School chose to begin liquidating assets throughout the month of September. The school, however, remained hopeful it would find a way for the program to continue and a small steering committee was established within the parish to determine the best course of action — one that would allow the store to continue serving a needed role in the community and transition it from a for-profit fundraising model back to its non-profit roots.
The original Outgrown Shop opened in 1956 and over the years expanded from selling gently used clothing to vending secondhand home décor, children’s items and books. As the Outgrown Shop, the store operated as a way for the parish to reach those in need, but about 20 years ago, it became part of school operations and transformed into the for-profit Thrift Store with proceeds assisting parishioner families in covering the cost of a Catholic school education. Under the new model, the Outgrown Shop will fall under the parish’s Community Ministry program and return its primary focus to helping those in need throughout Santa Clara.
“By returning the store to being a ministry, our focus is what our community needs,” said St. Justin Principal Karen Suty. “We hope to change as the needs of the community change. For example, it may be by the season — warm clothes in winter, sunscreen and water bottles in the summer — or by the need — if we see more children in need, we offer more children’s clothing and toys/books.”
When the store reopens, it will be at the same location, off Homestead Road on the St. Justin campus. Only, according to Suty, the biggest change will be that it will be half the size, as the remainder of the store will be transformed into a teen center, which will provide a safe place for students to stay after school.
“One half of the store will now be a teen center — which is a need for our community of working parents,” she said. “They need a safe place for their children to be after school. The other half will be a remodeled ‘Outgrown Shop.’ Because we will not be selling large pieces of furniture, we need much less area.”
Although St. Justin Community Ministry is absorbing operations of the Outgrown Shop, the ministry’s primary focus remains the St. Justin food pantry, which is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon to provide lunch and toiletries to those in need. In addition to the food pantry, Community Ministry organizations holiday food and gift distributions at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter; Lenten soup suppers; blood drives; the development of teams to service agencies and events; and a monthly outreach dinner for parish senior citizens.
“We hope to have the new store open by January, however, we still have clothing and items for those in need this winter,” said Suty, adding, “The Community Ministry has always offered a voucher program to the Thrift Store, and will now as the Outgrown Shop, and has provided [items like] clothing, toiletries, socks, warm coats, sleeping bags, gloves, [and] scarves.”
Those in need can contact Community Ministry for these items Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Additionally, St. Justin will hold an inventory sale with a holiday focus on Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the school gym at 2655 Homestead Rd. All proceeds from the sale will benefit St. Justin School.