The Thrift Depot, a thrift store located in Ypsilanti's Depot Town, is set to open its doors for the first time on Tuesday, Sep. 1 at 10 a.m. Owners Joshua and Jen Maxam founded the store with a mission to help provide necessities to community members in need.
Joshua, a Canton native, met Jen while she was a student at Eastern Michigan University. The couple later married and moved to Ypsilanti, where they and their three children have grown to love culture of the city.
Joshua first thought of a clothing bank while dabbling in online shoe resale. During that time, he witnessed the extent of housing insecurity in Ypsilanti firsthand.
"I got the opportunity to encounter a few people over the years where I would be driving, and I would stop and I would say, 'Hey, what shoe size do you wear? You look like you might need a new pair of shoes,'" Joshua said. "And I'd happen to have their size in the trunk as I've been picking up shoes."
While partnerships have yet to be solidified, Joshua says that he and Jen are working with other organizations to reach those in need. According to the Maxams' vision for The Thrift Depot, individuals experiencing hardship or homelessness would be referred by a case worker or social worker to the store. Those individuals could then present their referral and shop for necessities at no cost to them. The Thrift Depot currently has a table of essential toiletries that customers can take for free, no questions asked.
Joshua admits that the process of opening a new business in the midst of the pandemic has been scary at times, but his passion for service, in addition to support from the community, seems to drown out most of the fear.
"We put almost all of our saving on the line to try to make this happen, because we have such a big drive to help those people," Joshua said. "We're excited and it's something we love. So it is scary, but we also have been so overwhelmed by the generosity of he public here in Ypsilanti and the people."
People have been so generous that The Thrift Depot is temporarily discontinuing donation drop-offs. Within four days, the store received enough donations to fill the store, and then some.
The rustic space, located on 19 E. Cross Street, offers kitchen Items, electronics, furniture, and plenty of clothing. Starting on Tuesday, Sep. 1, The Thrift Depot will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays. They plan to resume donation drop-offs on Tuesday, Sep. 8 during regular store hours.
Reported and hosted by Bianca Ramsey
Produced by Ronia Cabansag
Web article by Ronia Cabansag