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Arc Thrift Store opens in downtown Worthington

Ryan Schreiber, store manager, and Carol Flesner, executive director of Arc of Minnesota Southwest, stand among the items available for sale at the newly opened Arc Thrift Store in downtown Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- Downtown Worthington's newest thrift store has been open for less than a month, and already the agency that operates the business is calling it a success.

The Arc Thrift Store of Southwest Minnesota is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, but those hours may change to meet the convenience of customers.

Ryan Schreiber manages the store, which includes everything from clothing and jewelry to home décor, DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, books, toys, games and even used medical equipment.

"We will accept any donations except appliances," said Schreiber. Furniture in good condition will also be taken in, and tend to go out just as quickly.

"I haven't turned anything down as long as it's in good, sellable condition," he added.

People who would like to donate items for the thrift store may do so during store hours. Schreiber encourages people to call ahead, and then deliver their items to the thrift store's back door where he can assist them in unloading the donations.

Schreiber said he is willing to pick up donations if needed, and can be available to accept donations at the store outside normal business hours.

"The donations I'm getting from this town are overwhelming," said Schreiber. "I've had no shortage of donations."

At this point, he said his greatest need is for volunteers to help sort, price and display merchandise at the store. The People First group of Nobles County has been helping with some of the work.

"We want to give people work opportunities and work experience in retail," said Arc of Minnesota Southwest executive director Carol Flesner. "We're intent on people with disabilities working in the community."

Building work experience for people with disabilities is one of three goals Arc has outlined for the thrift store. The other two include building a relationship in the community and building financial support for Arc programs.

Flesner said money raised from the thrift store is currently funding operations. The goal is that within six months to a year, enough money will be taken in to begin using the proceeds to fund Arc programming.

The Arc Thrift Store in Worthington is the second to open in the southwest region in just the past six months. A shop opened in Tracy in April, and Flesner said other communities have expressed interest in having an Arc thrift store as well.

"We wanted these to be stable and steady before we jump into another adventure," she said.

Arc is a nationwide organization with 10 chapters in Minnesota. The southwest chapter consists of 17 counties, with offices in Mankato, Fairmont, Marshall and Luverne. Arc's members include parents, volunteers and professionals who assist individuals with developmental disabilities. Among the people they serve are individuals with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and brain injuries.

As Flesner said, "it's parents working to make a place for their kids."

The ARC Thrift Store can be reached at 329-6527. To learn more about the grassroots organization, visit

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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