MRCI thrift shop 2/28

MRCI Thrift Shop employee Melissa Curtis stocks clothing in MRCI’s new store on Commerce Drive in North Mankato.

Pat Christman
The Free Press, Mankato, MN

A desire to make it easier for people to donate household “stuff” has prompted MRCI of Mankato to open a second thrift shop location.

The facility on Commerce Drive in North Mankato is in a site formerly occupied by Video Magic.

Manager Laura Butzer said MRCI felt the need to expand beyond its other shop near River Hills Mall, where the presence of two other thrift shops in a two-block area has created a competitive situation for donations.

The Mankato community now has six thrift shops operated by various entities.

Butzer said locating the shop on well-traveled Commerce Drive should be a plus for securing recyclable items including clothing, small appliances, books and other housewares (but no furniture).

The North Mankato shop has 3,000 square feet compared to 9,000 square feet in MRCI’s other store.

Butzer said little goes to waste when it comes to donated items.

“We try to recycle almost everything that comes in here. We even cut buttons off clothes and sell them.”

Butzer said the new store also gives MRCI an opportunity to try a new business model. The Mankato store is volunteer-driven, with about 150 people contributing work time. The North Mankato store will employ about six MRCI clients, affording them an opportunity to gain work experience that will help them transition to other employment.

MRCI helps people with physical, emotional and developmental disabilities.

MRCI thrift shop operations in the community grew out of a garage sale in 1963.

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