SOUTHPORT, N.C. – The first CIS Thrift Shop opened ten years ago in the Southport Shopping Plaza at 1635 Howe Street. Today there are four CIS Thrift Shops in Brunswick County, each a strong support to Communities In Schools of Brunswick County’s (CIS) mission to empower students to stay in school and achieve in life. CIS shops also serve as a place for the community to find high quality, name brand merchandise at a fraction of department store prices.
Before celebrating the 10th anniversary of their first ever CIS Thrift Shop, CIS staff were reminiscing about the last ten years, and said, “Many stores have come and gone from our plaza location, and we are happy to still be here.”
The nonprofit thrift shop was the only one in the area for a long time. “We were looking for alternative income outside of grant funding when we decided to open our first thrift shop in Southport. A past executive director performed extensive research on the thrift shop market, confident in our cause and the community support, identified the need for a shop offering gently used items at a greatly reduced price,” said Bonnie Jordan, CIS Executive Director. The Southport CIS Thrift Shop opened May 15, 2009 and only a few years after, other nonprofit thrift shops started popping up around the area.
After early years of struggling to become known and recognized as a high quality merchandiser of donated items, the Southport CIS Thrift Shop has survived and thrived, setting the standard for the nonprofit thrift shop customer experience offering personalized service, advice, and the best customer service experience around. Last year Southport CIS Thrift Shop was awarded Best Customer Service by the Southport-Oak Island Chamber of Commerce, which solidified the organization’s reputation for providing an excellent customer shopping experience.
“Opening our first CIS Thrift Shop in Southport was really a great move for us,” said Todd Beane Communications and Thrift Shop Operations Manager for CIS. “It’s given us a steady income stream to support our Action for Success dropout prevention programs in Brunswick County.” The Southport shop was so successful that CIS decided to open up another thrift shop in Sunset Beach later the same year in 2009 and a third shop in Boiling Spring Lakes in 2010.
The three CIS shops grew to be seen as community partners in accepting donated goods and offering excellent quality, name brand merchandise at a reasonable price. Since then, CIS has opened a fourth CIS Thrift Shop location in Leland in July 2016.
The CIS Thrift Shop family has been growing steadily every year. The shops’ popular “Monday Madness Sale,” for example, is a big draw and customers stream into the shops to get the best deals on newly found items and to take advantage of other weekly sales.
“We want to offer the best customer shopping experience around and have shops available to the community with high quality merchandise that will also help students stay in school,” Beane said talking about the Southport CIS Thrift Shop 10-year anniversary.
Since CIS Thrift Shops were started in 2009, much has changed for the nonprofit retail shop. Its selection of merchandise has expanded greatly to include a broad range of clothing styles for men, women and kids along with jewelry, housewares, art work, home decor, books, magazines and comic books, music related items, videos, electronics, tools, furniture, and sporting goods.
The CIS Thrift Shop managers and volunteers get to know their frequent customers personally, often keeping a list of treasured items they are seeking and phoning them when something comes in. Key elements of the CIS Thrift Shop brand remain unchanged and are well known in the community. Over the past decade, CIS has maintained bright, clean, welcoming shops with high quality of merchandise for extremely low prices. CIS Thrift Shops offer customers a boutique style shopping experience unlike the normal thrift shop. Our shops mix colorful displays of clothing with a dash of creativeness, pairing outfits and accessories together or showing a sample furniture configuration for customer inspiration.
The CIS brand is stronger than just our merchandise. We offer a chance to contribute to changing a student’s life through donating, purchasing, or even volunteering at a CIS Thrift Shop. CIS is focused on strengthening their retail experience and enabling them to do more to help kids stay in school.
Southport CIS Thrift Shop’s 10th anniversary celebration is of course giving back to customers and will kick off Wednesday, May 15 at 10 a.m. with three days of storewide sales! Wednesday, May 15 is 10% off the entire shop, Thursday, May 16 is $10 off any purchase of $50 or more, and Friday, May 17 any customer spending $10 will receive two frequent shopper stamps ($20 purchase gets four stamps) on Customer Loyalty Cards. If you don’t have a CIS Thrift Shop frequent shopper loyalty card, you can pick one up to start collecting your stamps (good at all four CIS Thrift Shop locations). The promotion celebrating 10 years in business will run through Friday, May 17 at 5 p.m.
“We’re excited to continue offering name brand, high quality merchandise and the best customer shopping experience to our patrons and allow Communities In Schools of Brunswick County to help even more students to stay in school and be successful,” commented Jordan.
CIS operates four thrift shops in Brunswick County for your donating and shopping convenience. CIS Thrift Shops are located in Boiling Spring Lakes, Leland, Southport, and Sunset Beach with inventory turning over daily. For more information about CIS of Brunswick County, our thrift shops or our Action for Success dropout prevention program, please contact the CIS office at 910-351-8007 or visit www.cisbrunswick.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for regular updates.
About Communities In Schools of Brunswick County:
Communities In Schools of Brunswick County is an accredited affiliate of the national Communities In Schools network, operating programs proven to keep students in school and on the path to graduation. Working closely with schools and partner organizations, Communities In Schools of Brunswick County uses evidence-based programs to serve students and their families. Based directly inside schools throughout the county, Communities In Schools connects students and their families to critical educational and community-based resources working hand-in-hand with schools, communities and families to identify their unique needs and surround students with a caring network of support. Learn more about Communities In Schools of Brunswick County at www.cisbrunswick.org.