Oshkosh thrift shop makes monthly donations to local charities

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 5:15 PM CST
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - A relatively new Oshkosh store has a unique business model. Bowenstreet Repeats makes it a point to use their profits to pay it forward.

“We started Bowenstreet Repeats as a way to keep things out of the landfill,” said Paula Hayford, a co-owner of the shop.

Paula knew all about how much gets discarded because of her son Kevin Hayford’s junk removal business - Clear the Clutter.

“A lot more was ending up in the landfill that should have,” said Kevin. “We were donating as much as we could, but donation places wouldn’t take stuff that was damaged or scratched, you know, dirty.”

So, a year ago, Paula and her daughter-in-law Ashley Hayford opened the thrift shop, upcycling and reselling items that can’t be donated at low cost.

“I would say 80 percent of what we have in here would have been destined for the landfill,” said Paula. “So, we’re saving it ecologically from the landfill, we’re recycling.”

“We’ve got the items and there’s a need for the items, that’s part of the reason too why we sell that at the rummage sale pricing… try to get it to the people that really need the items,” said Kevin.

In addition to keeping things like this out of the landfill, they’re also using this business as a way to give back to the community.

“It’s just a principle of ours to give back,” said Paula.

Since opening they’ve donated 20 percent of the shop’s profits each month to a different, local charity organization.

“The timing was very uncanny,” said Paula. “That we would open this and then the COVID virus would come and close places down, people would lose jobs, people were in need and here we were able to supply.”

They’ve donated to several organizations like the Day by Day shelter, the Humane Society, and Crossways Camping Ministries which provides year-round programming at multiple camp sites.

“This is just an example of neighbors helping neighbors,” said Ben Koehler, an Interim Camp Director.

Koehler says the monetary donation and supplies they got from Bowenstreet Repeats helped them transition from hosting big groups to single-family retreats during the pandemic.

“The fact that we got to be a part of that just means a lot to us,” said Koehler. “We’re in the nonprofit business and we are always relying on folks helping out.”

Paula says their goal is to keep growing and giving, building up new community relationships along the way.

“I think it’s that kind of thing, that wonderful relationship with people, that’s the part that I love the best,” said Paula.

Bowenstreet Repeats is planning to give its March donation to Rodney’s Café, the organization serving free meals to the community that Action 2 News reported on last week.

Currently the shop is only open Thursdays and Saturdays but Paula says they plan to expand their hours in the summer.

Learn more about the thrift shop by visiting its Facebook page.

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