2 X NEW — Julie Rodgers, Manager and Quality Life Concepts employee, greets customers and supervises clients at the store’s new location on Main Street. I-O Photo by Tirsea McNeal
By Tirsea McNeal, I-O Reporter
An assortment of clothing, books, dishes and a few electronics line the shelves and aisles of the store 2 X New. The thrift store is part of the Quality Life Concepts Inc. (QLC) and has recently moved to their location on Main Street in Conrad.
The store was started in June 1992 by Northern Gateway Enterprises and continues to be operated by QLC since the two organizations merged in 1998.
It was established to provide integrated work opportunities for the clients served and to provide a source of affordable lightly-used clothing for the community at large, as well as lessening the impact on the landfill.
Julie Rodgers, has been working for Quality Life Concepts as the store’s manager for three years. Several other employees are employed by QLC, with five or more years of service both in the group home and at the work center on Minnesota Street
The Work Center and the group home have been in the Conrad community since 1976, so it was a natural fit to start the business in Conrad.
Julene Knaff is a frequent customer to 2 x New. Knaff says, “I believe that the combination of Julie and the store are a winning team.”
The Quality Life Concept’s clients who occasionally work at the store gain employment skills and training while serving customers and sorting inventory.
“The store earns money to help those in our community who need the help the most.” says Knaff.
Knaff adds, “You can always count on friendly service, new inventory daily, and a smile.”
QLC’s mission is “to provide creative supports and choices that stimulate lifelong growth and development; to support children and adults with developmental needs within their home and community; provide a supportive and safe environment so individuals may attain their maximum level of personal achievement; and empower and support families.”
QLC is a non-profit organization with all proceeds from the store going to support the store and provide additional monies for client activities or needs.
Bob Hjelm, Director of QLC said, “2 X New provides the clients with valuable work experience that may lead to other possible employment opportunities in the community.”
Donations can be picked up if the public is unable to bring them to the store.
The store also recycles approximately 90 percent donations not sold for shipment to third world countries or reprocessed in other products which dramatically reduce the impact on the local landfill.
Hjelm said, “We are always willing to provide support to the community to those who are destitute or impacted by natural disaster or fire with basic items that might be available at the store at no cost.”