Many community members are aware of the mission and work of the Boys & Girls Club of Venice. However, many people do not realize that over one-third of the club’s operating revenue comes from the club-owned thrift shop on Washington Boulevard.

The shop is holding a “Super Sale” Saturday, September 16th.

“The shop is a huge component to the club,” said thrift shop director Arthur Bright. “The club pays 100 percent of the expenses so that 100 percent of the revenue can go to support the children and all of the programs at the club, which is why receiving community support is so critical.”

Bright, a former New Yorker and now a Venice resident, has been directing the shop for the past six months, and is very knowledgeable and zealous about what the shop means for the club for obvious reasons.

“I was a member of the Thompson Square Park Boys Club in New York,” said Bright. “I know how much these programs mean toward creating a better way for the kids in the neighborhood.”

The shop generates lots of interest from local residents like La Verrne Wimberly who has been shopping there since 1989, on a relative’s recommendation.

She said she spends “about five hours a week” shopping at the shop.

“I love shopping for crystal pieces,” say Wimberly. “I think I’ve furnished my whole house at the thrift shop.”

Wimberly is not alone in her commitment to visiting the shop on a regular basis.

“We get dealers, residents, other merchants, professional shoppers and families in need,” says Bright, who adds that his work background is steeped in more-traditional retail.

“This is not your typical department store,” Bright added. “Interest varies from customer to customer, and inventory differs on a daily basis, which makes it such a challenge and so exciting.”

The most important element of the shop, according to Bright, is to make sure that residents and businesses understand that they can make a difference in the life of a child, and the betterment of the community by personally donating “high quality” items from their homes and businesses.

The conversion of one person’s trash (or discarded treasure), to another persons treasure truly makes many more rags-to-riches story possible for club members at the Boys & Girls Club of Venice.

To donate to the thrift shop, phone (310) 391-6301 for a free pickup or visit the shop, 13347 Washington Blvd. next to the Costco Shopping Center.

[Erikk O. Aldridge is the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Venice.]

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