It's always nice to get a bargain when you're shopping, but it's even better when you're supporting community members at the same time.
In February, Family Thrift Store in Madison will mark three years since it first opened its doors to shoppers.
"It's kind of fun. Find things that remind me of when I was a child and some things for the grandkids when they come to my house," shopper LaVonne Christian said.
That's one of the reasons Christian likes to browse the aisles of Encore Family Store every now and then.
The store has what you would expect to find: dishes, seasonal decorations for your home and a wide variety of clothes. But how this store came to be is what makes it pretty unique.
You see, several years ago, about seven local business owners and leaders decided this type of store would be a good addition to downtown Madison, so they started fundraising to make it happen.
"$400,000 in donations from businesses, community members, all sorts of people interested in helping the thrift store as well as supporting ICAP," Jon Knuths with First Bank & Trust-Madison said.
That's the other key part of this business model: Inter-lakes Community Action Partnership
or ICAP gets the proceeds from this store. The organization helps a number of causes including providing meals for seniors, Head Start, even helping people weatherize their homes to cut down on energy costs.
All of the proceeds from the store stay in Lake County.
"Hopefully we can make lots of money to give back to the community of Madison and help support other organizations," Encore Family Store Manager Holly Van Dyke said.
That's another reason Christian likes to browse the store aisles.
"I think every community needs to stand together and help out," Christian said.
While a big portion of the project cost was paid for with donations, part of it was also financed.
Right now, the Madison Community Foundation owns the store as the loan is being paid off.
The intention is the store will eventually be sold to ICAP at a minimal cost.
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Retail & Restaurants