2017-12-03 / Insight

New To You Consignment enriches lives of people with special needs

BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com


Members of New To You Consignment’s Retail Training Program Tom Whitis, Tina Jones and Ryan Schoultz took a break from decorating the store for Christmas to snap a photo. 
Photo by Nicholas Pugliese Members of New To You Consignment’s Retail Training Program Tom Whitis, Tina Jones and Ryan Schoultz took a break from decorating the store for Christmas to snap a photo. Photo by Nicholas Pugliese LAPEER — New To You Consignment, a not-for-profit retail thrift store in downtown Lapeer, may appear to be an average consignment shop from the outside. The basic operation of a consignment shop is there — people bring used items to the store, and employees of New To You sort through them and display them for sale in the various display areas, and profits from sales are split between the store and the consignor. But it is also much more than that.

New To You Consignment is a division of the not-for-profit organization Lapeer Team Work, Inc., a group that works with local employers to solve their employment or other job-related issues by supplying them with employees or by using the organization’s Mobile Work Crews, which feature workers living with barriers to regular employment such as autism or cerebral palsy. New To You Consignment, as a part of the greater Lapeer Team Work, Inc. network, features retail training to individuals who are working with the organization, and through their retail training at New To You Consignment gain employable skills such as customer service and retail experience.

The store itself is large and is stuffed with all manner of items, from clothing to housewares, sporting goods to a year-round Christmas decoration room. The store also features a kids’ corner, a book nook organized by the Friends of the Marguerite deAngeli Library, an area filled with formal dresses for weddings or prom and two rooms with vintage items that defy categorization elsewhere. “There’s just a huge variety of stuff,” said Connie Soberalski, Lapeer Team Work, Inc. divisional manager of the downtown campus, including New To You Consignment. “There’s a lot, and it’s good quality, too.”

New To You Consignment has called its current location home since only 2015, setting up shop on Nepessing Street in downtown Lapeer after moving from its original location at 1785 W. Genesee St., where it was operating since 2007. “Lapeer Team Work started when Oakdale shut down,” said Soberalski. “New To You grew out of that.”

Despite moving locations, the shop has always called Lapeer home, and has become ingrained in the community through its Donate with a Purpose program, which sees revenue from sales donated to one of dozens of notfor profit service agencies, service organizations, schools, churches or religious groups. The Donate with a Purpose program originated through the efforts of Lapeer Team Work, Inc. executive director Ann Zettle, who sought to provide women utilizing the services of Lapeer Area Citizens Against Domestic Abuse, or LACADA, a place to begin rebuilding their lives in a space that preserved dignity and pride. LACADA was provided vouchers that were distributed amongst their clients and could be used at New To You for items. Now, several agencies can provide vouchers.

“The vouchers are nice for people looking for a new start,” said Soberalski. “There’s a lot of help available.”

Consignors donating items for sale in New To You can designate a recipient group to receive their share of the profits from the sale of their item, and Soberalski estimates that several hundred dollars a month in donations are made to designated organizations.

New To You Consignment is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and closed on Sundays. For more information, follow the store’s Facebook page by searching “New To You Consignment Lapeer” or call 810-245- 7272

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