Community Action Center of Northfield (CAC)

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Community Action Center’s Clothes Closet Returns to Downtown Northfield

April 9, 2013

The Community Action Center of Northfield (CAC), a nonprofit committed to meeting the basic needs of families in transition throughout the Northfield area, will relocate its Clothes Closet storefront from its current location in the Northfield Community Resource Center (NCRC) on Jefferson Parkway to 600 Water Street in downtown Northfield, the space in the River Park Mall that formerly housed Mr. Movies. Renovations to the space are underway, and the Clothes Closet, which offers gently used clothing and household goods, is expected to open in its new space with expanded hours for both shopping and donation drop-off the first part of June.

Community Action Center Executive Director Jim Blaha said, “The time is right, and we are very, very excited about this project. The Clothes Closet continues to serve a growing number of people – both clients of the CAC and the community as a whole – and has an extensive history in downtown Northfield. We’re pleased to be able to return with a space that will accommodate more merchandise and provide better accessibility to our clients and the entire community.”

The Clothes Closet outfits more than 400 families free of charge each year and offers discounted and value-priced goods to hundreds more. It began in 1968 by Church Women United and has been housed in a number of different locations – often co-located with the CAC’s Food Shelf. In 1980, the program was officially gifted to the Community Action Center. Throughout its history, the Clothes Closet has always relied exclusively on donations from the Northfield-area community to supply merchandise for its store.

Blaha cited the number of people shopping at thrift stores – about 20% according to a recent article in USA Today – as one of the reasons that the Clothes Closet has been so successful in recent years. He continued, “The Clothes Closet is truly a win-win for the entire community. Over the years, we have greatly benefited from the quality of the goods donated to the Clothes Closet. Our clients are having their basic needs met and all of our customers – no matter their walks of life – receive a good deal. Furthermore, our community benefits when residents shop at the Clothes Closet. One-hundred percent of all sale proceeds are used to support the life-giving programs of the Community Action Center.”

The Clothes Closet remodel currently underway is being spearheaded by CAC Program Director Judy Bickel and Clothes Closet Manager Jane Greenwood. The project will benefit from direction by longtime Northfield resident and construction professional Don Pavek. He, along with other Habitat for Humanity volunteers, will build out a space that will include an expanded sales area and a larger warehouse for accepting and storing donations.

Blaha concluded, “We are very grateful for the tremendous support we’ve received from the Northfield community. Judy and Jane have been fantastic – going above and beyond their daily duties to pull everything together. The Clothes Closet is truly a store with a heart. Everything we do – from our food and housing programs to opportunities that assist our youth and provide client advocacy and referrals – benefits when the Clothes Closet thrives. This is a wonderful extension of our mission to facilitate neighbors helping neighbors.”

The Clothes Closet, which will remain open in its current space inside the Northfield Community Resource Center (1650 Jefferson Parkway) until Friday, May 17, is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. It is anticipated that it will begin accepting donations in its new space – including those items that don’t sell at garage sales – beginning Monday, May 20. Residents are encouraged to consider donating clean, gently used clothing and household goods, especially linens, shoes and jewelry, which are always in high demand.

For more information about the Community Action Center, visit www.communityactioncenter.org or call 507-664-3550.