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Valley Industries' employees (L-R) Charlotte Frank, Katy Moran, Sandy Luther, Christine Gunn, Mary Beth Webb, Donnielle Moore and Becky Thoene are a few of the amazing workers and volunteers who will welcome you with smiles at Valley Industries' Thrift Store.

Thrift Store Builds Business, Builds Community

Valley Industries Thrift Store in Hazelwood was recently featured in an online article by Nichole Richardson in The Independent News, a suburban St. Louis publication.

The article is an outstanding look at an important program operated by one Missouri workshop. It also outlines a good example of creative business efforts used by many workshops across the state to expand job opportunities for people with disabilities.

Labeling Valley Industries’ Thrift Shop a “Hidden Gem,” the article describes the thriving business as both a labor of love and home to some really great bargains.

“What once started out as an idea of a rummage sale to ensure that workshop workers would remain employed during the recession evolved into the 4000 sq. foot retail space that now includes three employees, one volunteer manager and 15 volunteer staffers,” Richardson wrote.

Parents of people with disabilities employed at the nearby workshop play a major role in operating the thrift shop. A solid community of customers keeps the store busy, including a number of regulars with a large number of workers from nearby companies like Boeing.

The community support also includes a partnership with Northview High School, part of the St. Louis area Special School District. In an example of additional job training, students at the school launder all clothing donations to the store before pricing, tagging and sizing.

Through all of this, the 10-year-old store has provided an additional source of revenue for Valley Industries Sheltered Workshop and an important opportunity for the community to interact with workers who have developmental disabilities.

Another partnership aspect involves other donations to the store inventory. Members of the public play a big role, but local vendors also partner with Valley Industries Workshop. Household Essentials, Hope Glass and Tag Logistics are just some of the companies who donate brand new or upscale items to the shop.

Valley Industries Executive Director Jim Guyre said the future looks bright for the thrift store. “There are not many thrift stores in the area that offer brand new items at these prices,” Guyre said. “We are mission driven, and every purchase and every donation help to support the employment of 200 people.”

The complete article is available at this link: