Clothes Less Traveled set to expand again

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When The Clothes Less Traveled Thrift Shop opened in 1997, they occupied a 1,000 square foot space on Huddleston Rd. They moved to their current location on Georgia Hwy 74 in 2006 and had 5,000 square feet of space to house their shop and an expanded donation area. In 2009, they doubled the space they had to 10,000 square feet and on March 17 they will have a grand reopening to showcase their latest expansion to 20,000 square feet.

“We are blessed with a lot of donations and this expansion, which will allow us to spread out the shopping area, will allow us to expand our process area too,” said Joan Velsmid, President of the Volunteer Board of Directors for Clothes Less Traveled.”We’ll be able to get donations to the floor faster and improve the work space for our volunteers.”

The Clothes Less Traveled Thrift Shop is a 501(c)(3) corporation. It was founded by MaryAnn Cox, who needed a place to donate or sell items that were being dropped off at her office at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. There are currently 200 regular volunteers that donate their time to the shop and over 100, including Fayette County Realtors that donate their time to special projects. With the expansion, Clothes Less Traveled is hoping to increase their volunteer base.

“We need you,” Velsmid said in a message to area residents. “Volunteers work at least three and a half hours a month.”

Among the benefits volunteers receive are an invitation to an annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, tokens of appreciation given periodically for recognition of excellent service, nametags and uniform apparel and scholarships available for high school seniors. Twice a year volunteers can shop at 50 percent off and they also receive a card honoring their birthday that can be used to get 50 percent off one item.

All of the proceeds go back to the community in the form of grants. Some of the organizations that have received grants from Clothes Less Traveled include Fayette Care Clinic, Joseph Sams School, Fayette Samaritans, Breast Cancer Survivors Network and many more.

The latest expansion/renovation began on Jan. 1. The space that was located adjacent to Clothes Less Traveled became available late last summer and the board discussed the expansion for several months before deciding to do it. The budget for the renovation is $60,000 and the group states they are right on track thanks to community support and some pro bono work. Bob Cover, one of the board members, is overseeing the renovation. There have been many different contractors involved and the shop has received donations from Cooper Industries, Behr Paint and Home Depot.

Everyone at Clothes Less Traveled is excited about the expansion and renovation. It will make the shopping experience better for the customers and the donation process smoother for everyone involved. The break room for the volunteers will also be expanded.

The board never thought they would have expanded this much when they started out 15 years ago, but they are proud of what they have been able to accomplish.
“We go with what works and what seems right,” Velsmid said. “Because we know we have great community support because of what we do with the proceeds.”

Clothes Less Traveled is located at 459 Ga. Hwy 74 South in Peachtree City. For more information, call 770-486-8517 or visit them on the web at clotheslesstraveled.org.