MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This week, Best of Minnesota is tightening the purse strings and digging deep. We went searching for the state’s best thrift store, and asked you smart shoppers for your best bets.
After tallying the votes, you sent Natalie Nyhus to a store with a lot of heart: The Common Closet Thrift Store in Wabasha.READ MORE: Andy Slavitt, Twin Cities Resident And Fmr. Biden Advisor, Pens Book On What U.S. 'Could Have Done Better' In COVID Response
“Wabasha with The Common Closet is a cross between Huckleberry Finn and Norman Rockwell,” customer Michelle Babcock of Rochester said.
Babcock has been shopping at the Common Closet Thrift Store for years. As thrifting goes, half the fun is the thrill of the find. But here, there’s more than just the hunt.
“I come here to support the community,” she said. “How can you not find a thrill when you find a darling skirt like this for four dollars, and that goes right back to the community?”
Your favorite thrift store in Minnesota has everything you’d expect to find: clothes, cups, books and baby stuff. Every dollar of profit that comes in, goes right out. In the six years since opening, they’ve given $50,000 to charity — impressive for a place that sells pants for a few bucks. Just Thursday, they donated $5,000 to an agency that serves low-income people.
It’s a dream realized, but one that took time and tenacity to make happen. It started 10 years ago.
“We decided we needed a one-stop-shop that provided food and clothing and resource information and monetary help to people in need,” said Jeani Wodele, President of the Board for The Common Closet Thrift Store.
After a grant fell through, the team was left with nothing but their idea — one they wouldn’t let go.READ MORE: Professor Edward Ward ID'd As Victim Of 'Random' St. Cloud Shooting
“A couple years later, a group of us said we still know what we want and what is needed. Why don’t we just make it happen anyway?” Wodele said.
The Common Closet moved forward. A local realtor found the perfect space for the group, but there was another problem.
“We didn’t have any money. He said, ‘Let’s take care of that, too.'” Wodele said. “We went to a rotary meeting, plugged our story and dreams for this store, and when left that day we had all the funding we needed for an entire year of rent and utilities.”
With nearly 60 volunteers working the shop, The Common Closet has low overhead, and a lot to give. It’s a group with gumption, helping fire victims, people in crisis, or those who just find themselves falling on hard times.
“That was the goal — to help people in need,” Wodele said. “There’s something about Wabasha, and I say it all the time. All you have to do is ask. People come forward.”
At its core, The Common Closet is less about being a store and more about helping people.
“This is what makes it possible to give back — our favorite thing,” Wodele said.MORE NEWS: University of Minnesota Vows To Boost Safety Measures After Shootings In Dinkytown
The Common Closet Thrift Store is open Wednesday through Saturday. Nothing donated gets thrown out – they pass along anything they can’t sell to other organizations. Your other favorites are The Vintage Exchange in Cokato and Broadway Thrift N Things in Wheaton.