• REACH Thrift Store manager Tiffany Crawford checks out a customer. The store on U.S. 64 West in Murphy is in the process of renovating.

SCOUTING AROUND: REACH makes changes to raise more for victims

    When a victim of domestic violence needs help, REACH of Cherokee County is there. The organization provides whatever is needed – clothes for work or to find work, supplies for school, deposits for rent, even travel to flee the area.
    Unfortunately, the money for these direct services aren’t always there. Director Cecilia Crawford said they’ve been successful with calling churches whenever there is a need the organization does not have the funds to fill.
    “We’ll never not help somebody,” Crawford said. “It would be nice to not have to beg for money every time.”
    As a result, REACH has a huge goal, and the organization needs the community’s help to achieve it. The funds for direct services come from donations and thrift store sales, and Crawford said she’d like to see the organization’s thrift store’s profits to increase to meet the needs. To accomplish this, the thrift store is undergoing $5,000 in renovations this month.
    “If we’re going to make any more money, we need to make the store look better,” Crawford said. “It’s going to be more appealing.”
    The store’s renovations already are getting community support from ladies from a local church, who are volunteering their time to do the work needed to renovate the store. However, Crawford said monetary donations are still needed to help pay for new fixtures and signage, especially the biggest one – a new sign at about $1,600.
    Anyone in the community can help by donating usable items in good condition, from clothing to home goods to furniture, so the store continues to have a fresh product product assortment for customers.
    Renovations are taking place on Saturdays and Sundays so the store doesn’t have to be closed. Manager Tiffany Crawford asks that regular customers be patient, as items will be moved each week until settling in new locations throughout the store.
    By the end of renovations, customers will enter to the showroom, which will constantly change to feature special items. The showroom also will have new signage to show statistics and how money raised at the store is used.
    The other room will be redesigned for shopping ease, with clothing to the front entrance of the room, housewares along the back, and furniture in front of the side bay doors. The gray donation shed that is beside the parking lot near the highway will be moved to alongside the building.
    Once renovations are complete, Cecilia Crawford said there will be a grand re-opening to celebrate the changes and encourage everyone to “shop to stop domestic violence.”
    “We’re really proud of of our ladies and the hard work they’re putting  in,” Crawford said. “We’re excited to see the end results, too.”
    Crawford hopes the renovations help the store double its profits in the first year.
    The store normally makes about $50,000 a year, with about $10,000 available for direct services after paying the store’s expenses like rent, salaries and utilities. She said she also has a 3-5 year plan, with an end-goal profit of $170,000 a year
    REACH is funded through grants, donations and the sales from the thrift store. The grants, which are paid through reimbursements, can only go toward salaries, program services, communications, utilities and office rent.
    To make a monetary donation, make a check out to REACH of Cherokee County and hand it to Tiffany Crawford at the thrift store or make a donation online on the REACH website. Item donations can be brought to the processing center behind the store from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or dropped off in the gray donation shed any time.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.