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Helping veterans

Plymouth thrift store aids homeless, veterans

Union Leader Correspondent

May 07. 2014 6:07PM
The new Ladders Thrift Store in Plymouth. (COURTESY)

PLYMOUTH — With the help of generous residents donating “gently used” clothing, housewares and other goods, the new Ladders Thrift Store has already raised thousands of dollars for a local shelter that specializes in helping the homeless, especially veterans.

The store opened in April and has already raised $6,500 for the Bridge House Shelter and Veterans Advocacy in Plymouth, which serves the Plymouth-area population of homeless veterans.

The store, located at 16 Main St. in the formerly vacant American Legion building, will hold its grand opening on Saturday, which presents an opportunity to “Get Thanked,” according to a press release by Plymouth State University senior Hayley Devlin of Derry.

Devlin, a criminal justice major seeking a career in communications, has been helping the store in its early months along with PSU sophomores Kelsey Wrye of Concord, Beth Tedesco of Rhode Island, Keslie Collins of Concord and Tanner Corbett of Thornton. The students are getting credit for helping the store get started.

Devlin said she took the “Get Thanked” theme from signs in the store, which is modern in appearance and has lots of inventory rolling in and out all day.

“It’s kind of the Macy’s of thrift stores. It’s really well lit, the merchandise is laid out beautifully, and the inventory is constantly changing,” said Francesca Diggs, the case advocate for the shelter who volunteers at the new store. “It has the feel of a high-end store.”

Store manager Michelle Lauriat said the store was created by the director of Bridge House, Cathy Bentwood. In December, she approached potential donors and applied for grants for a thrift store that would benefit the shelter exclusively.

One private donor made a $116,000 donation, and Home Depot has agreed to provide a $9,000 to help renovate the building. The store has been given a three-year lease on the building by the local American Legion chapter.

The shelter primarily gets its funding from private donations and government grants, but needed more funding, Diggs said. The store will provide a sustainable source of funding for the shelter’s operational and programming needs.

“It’s all part of a larger plan to help fund the shelter,” she said. “I think it will be a huge help.”

The store primarily sells clothing for men, women and children, but also has a large selection of housewares, furniture, sporting goods, craft supplies, toys, and more, Lauriat said.

“We have a lot of inventory, and it changes every day. It’s a good problem to have,” she said.

The grand opening will feature refreshments on Saturday. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

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