Worcester Small Business With Heart: Clark Community Thrift Store
Friday, July 05, 2013
CCTS is the brainchild of two Clark students, Rachel Gerber ‘11 and Alexa Lightner ’11, who won a grant to open the store through an entrepreneurship contest in 2010. Gerber and Lightner’s vision was for the store to provide students and Clark’s neighbors with ways to attain used goods at low prices, while also allowing them to recycle their own used items in a sustainable way. This mission has expanded as the thrift store has grown into a more connected community, according to manager (and Clark graduate student) Sam Bryson-Brockmann, who sees the store as an example of a stable business that teaches people and universities that it is indeed possible for a student-run thrift store to be successful and have a significant impact upon the community.
The relationship between Clark and CCTS is an incredibly important part of its history and its continuing growth. For instance, Clark supported the opening of the thrift store by providing a subsidized building, formerly a pharmacy, to house the facility. The store also provides jobs for students from the Clark campus, since only Clark students serve as its paid staff. But CCTS partners with the Worcester community just as heavily as, if not more than, the university. The store seeks to create and develop a community space where Clark students and Main South residents can come together, whether they are volunteering at the store, browsing its selection of items, or attending the store’s events.
Bryson-Brockmann believes that part of the store’s vision is also “to get youth prepared for retail by providing them with experience.” CCTS aims to accomplish this by investing in the youth community, working with programs through the Worcester Youth Center and Regional Environmental Council to place Worcester youth in the thrift store. This further helps support the store’s mission to help integrate the Clark community and the Main South community, and highlights its community-oriented culture.
CCTS is certainly one-of-a-kind, as a sustainable student-run and student-founded business that fully supports multiple communities, but it also stands out for its unique mix of items. Since the store relies on donations from Clark students and faculty as well as residents of the neighborhood, it offers an exchange of fashions more commonly found on Clark campus’s with some distinctive styles of the Main south community. For Bryson-Brockmann, this mix of donations helps CCTS break away from any stigma attached to thrift store clothes. He views this eclectic collection as being a huge draw for the diverse types of people who choose to volunteer and be a part of the thrift store, explaining that they are a “tight-knit group that sustains itself over the years.” Clearly, the Clark Community Thrift Store has achieved that which its name suggests: it is truly a part of the Clark Community.
The Clark Community Thrift Store is located at 945 Main St. 508-751-5946. Open Thursday-Sunday, 12pm- 4pm.
- Clark Named in Princeton Review’s Guide to Top ‘Green Colleges’
- Clark to Host Noted Author and Transgender Advocate
- NEW: EMILY’s List Puts Katherine Clark “On the List”
- Clark Prof Garners National Attention for Research on Gay Marriage
- Clark to Host Panels, Lecture on Global Change and Sustainability
- Nine Clark Undergraduates Receive Steinbrecher Fellowships
- New England Vintage Chic: 7 Rules For Thrift Store Shopping
- Clark Prof Leads Study on Glacier Contributions to Sea Level Rise
- Clark to Host Sneak Peek of Wonder Woman Documentary
- Noted Southern Historian Karen L. Cox to Deliver Lecture at Clark
- Clark Alumni Association Selects Arlington Teacher for OSEA
- Clark Prof. Co-Authors Book, Says ‘Coaching Makes Better Teachers’
- Clark’s 5th Annual Relay for Life Racing Toward a Cure
- Parents of 18-29 Year Olds Want Them Living At Home—Clark Poll
- Clark Applications Up an ‘Astounding’ 29 Percent
- Clark Students Present Policy Ideas to Conservation Society
- Don’t Miss: Renowned Scholar to Hold Foreign Policy Talk at Clark
- Clark First School in Mass to Commit to ‘Real Food’ Purchasing
- Clark To Host International Conference on Sustainable Consumption
- Israeli Scholar to Lecture at Clark on Final Days of Holocaust
- Clark Grad Student Wins “Summer Of Maps” Fellowship
- Clark University Students Hold Walk for Marathon Victims
- NEW: Clark Prof’s Next-Gen Science Exemplar Scores $200K NSF Grant
- Clark Hands Out Over 1,000 Degrees At Commencement
- Clark to Celebrate Earth Day with Go Green on the Green 2013
- NEW: Clark Prof. Receives $700K to Study Postpartum Depression