CIS of Brunswick County’s fourth thrift store to open in Leland

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Racks are being filled and shelves stacked in advance of CIS' newest thrift shop, set to open in Leland on July 6. Courtesy photo.
Racks are being filled and shelves stacked in advance of CIS’ newest thrift shop, set to open in Leland on July 6. Courtesy photo.

Savvy shoppers take note: A new secondhand store is opening up shop just over the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.

Communities In Schools (CIS) of Brunswick County announced this week it will open its fourth thrift shop in Leland early next month.

For more than two decades, CIS has worked with the school district and other organizations to provide students and their parents with additional educational and community resources. The non-profit, which is part of the national CIS network, annually serves approximately 3,500 youth through programs like after-school care at nine elementary schools, dropout prevention and peer and teen courts that allow first-time juvenile offenders to be tried by their fellow students. CIS spokesman Todd Beane said since July 2015, Teen Court alone has served 60 defendants and trained 82 students to serve as attorneys, bailiffs and clerks, and the program annually saves the county at least $2,000 in costs associated with juvenile justice.

CIS also gives out $1,000 scholarships each year to one student at each of the district’s three traditional high schools, as well as the early college, Brunswick County Academy and through Peer Court.

Since its foundation, the group has relied heavily on volunteers and grants, in addition to backing from the county and the school district. But several years ago, CIS saw a series of severe cutbacks from the public and private sectors, and had close its long-running Family Literacy centers in Leland and Ash.

In the midst of that hardship, the thrift shop vision arose as a way to fill the funding gap. The first store opened in Southport in May 2009, followed by one in Sunset Beach that fall and another in Boiling Spring Lakes the following year.

Despite having to close a short-lived store in Shallotte, CIS has seen major revenue from the sale of donated items. During the 2014-15 fiscal year, for example, the thrift shops brought in a little over $550,000, making it the second largest funding source, just behind approximately $795,000 in grants. County government and the board of education gave $44,500 and $153,500, respectively.

“Northern Brunswick County is experiencing incredible growth, and CIS has expanded its thrift shop operations to be a part of this growth,” Beane said. “This new location is a result of the great success we have achieved since we began operating our three other thrift shops in Brunswick County.”

Profits from the new store will specifically help start up the dropout prevention program at an additional site, CIS executive director Nancy Lamb noted. The program is currently in place at four middle schools.

The Leland CIS Thrift Shop will open Wednesday, July 6, at 117-I Village Road, behind CVS in the Village Plaza shopping center, and a grand opening is planned for August. Ahead of the first day of business, CIS is still collecting donations to stock the 2,200-square-foot space. Commonly accepted items include: gently used or new men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and shoes; jewelry and accessories; home décor; kitchenware; athletic equipment; tools; books; CDs; and toys. The shop does not take furniture, large appliances, computers or printers. With the exception of flat screens, television sets are not accepted.

Beane said volunteers are also needed to help manage donations, work in the store and pick up items. Those interested may contact the CIS office, (910) 457-3494 or stop by the shop during operating hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.