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I was very impressed by the enterprise of Neighborhood Thrift! It is a great demonstration of small enterprise development (or economic development) in action. I was literally dumbfounded to hear that their starting costs were a mere $15,000. That is also the approximate amount of their net income each year, after paying their 8 employees and other operational expenses. Talk about a “shoestring” budget!
Neighborhood Thrift is helping to empower one of the most “challenged” populations in Fresno. Through the offerings of employment – and the mentoring that comes with it, individuals can choose to become productive members of society. The only thing that I would suggest is that there may be some opportunities for one-time grants, like the $9,500 that they received from TJ Max that could offer them some “breathing” room. I admire that they do not want to become dependent on outside funding, but outside “investment” can help to raise the profile of the organization – and it can help to get others on board and supportive of ideas like this. Why not get a Starbucks grant to make that café official? I can’t wait to see what Neighborhood Thrift has to offer in another 5 years!