A Franklin organization is moving out of its home of 43 years with the hope of being more visible and attracting more customers.
On Friday, the Lord’s Cupboard Thrift Shop will open at the northeast corner of U.S. 31 and Banta Street, which board members hope will bring in more shoppers and boost the struggling business. For nearly a year, the store has been losing $1,000 to $2,000 per month as fewer customers came in to donate and purchase used clothing, books and housewares, board member Julie Stewart said.
The Lord’s Cupboard provides scholarships for Johnson County students each year and provides $1,200 to $1,500 worth of free clothing for residents in need. The store depends on donations and sales to fund their programs, Stewart said.
Who: Lord’s Cupboard Thrift Shop
What: A nonprofit organization that sells used items, including clothes, furniture, books and household decorations, to benefit residents in need.
New location: Starting Friday, 606 Banta St., Franklin
Opened: In 1970, by a group of women’s church organizations
Charitable donations: $500 scholarships each year to local students and vouchers for free items to residents who can’t afford clothing.
Larger thrift stores, such as Goodwill, are more well-known, and the Lord’s Cupboard former location on Johnson Avenue wasn’t visible to customers who might stop in after driving or walking by, store manager Beth Horton said.
“We’ve just had more competition,” she said. “It’s easier to go to those more visible ones.”
The new location, which is about half the size of the old one, will be more visible, and extended hours also should give people more time to come shop, she said. The words “Thrift Shop” were added to the name as well, so that customers would know what they sold.
Until now, the organization had been able to create two or three scholarships a year for local students. Board members hope the new location will bring in enough money to continue and expand the program, Stewart said.
The store has struggled for the past few years since reopening after a yearlong shutdown, Horton said. In 2011, the store closed after police found that a former store manager had stolen $15,000 from sales of used clothes, furniture and books. The store opened again a year later, with an anonymous donation that allowed them to pay for utilities and insurance for the building, Stewart said.
Since then, donations and customers have remained down, and more residents using the voucher program for free clothing have come in, she said.