Upon entering The Thrift Depot located at 19 East Cross St Ypsilanti, I felt a very welcoming vibe reverberating within the walls.
I was quickly greeted by owner Joshua Maxam, who was polite and cordial. There was everything that I would expect from a thrift store, but the prices were surprisingly low. Most shirts were $2.50 and shoes were only $5.00. Aside from clothing, there were also household items, an electronics department, board games and even video games.
But the Thrift Depot has something that makes it awesomely different. There's an area right in front of the register, where free food is given out to those in need. I had never seen such a thing in a storefront, so I was very impressed. Now more than ever, people are in need of food and assistance during an ongoing pandemic, so it's not even only homeless people that are struggling. There's people who were laid off when this all started, trying to find work during this trying economic time. There's people staying home with their kids. There's people who's job right now is temporary. There's students who didn't receive any stimulus money. I give them big kudos for just giving back.
I asked Joshua what made him want to open up a store in Ypsilanti, and he said that he'd been working out of home for too long and that he simply wished to do more through giving back to the community. He talked to me about how the Depot donates food, clothing and other items to people that are in need around Ypsilanti.
I walked around the store a little more, purchased a shirt, and then made my way out. As I walked through Depot Town, I began to think to myself how great it was that something like this was being done for the community. Ypsilanti does not have a place like the Delonis Shelter in Ann Arbor that provides shelter and daily meals for the homeless.
The prices are inviting to say the least, and cater to anyone who's trying to save money and stay away from big box retailers. I would recommend the Thrift Depot because it helps one budget wisely, carries a wide selection of goods that are refreshed often, and also gives back to the community.
More businesses should do what the Thrift Depot does. Businesses in the United States are often cast as cold, hard, and just out to make a buck. But that's not how it has to be. Compassion and caring can be integrated into a business. One can make enough money to thrive and help their community. A lot of businesses claim to do this. But I've never seen one give out free food from within their store. That's a new level, and one more local business's should aspire to reach.