A New Cedar Springs Thrift Store Fights HIV/AIDS With Fashion.
Except, well, when it is. When Out of the Closet opens its doors tomorrow at 3920 Cedar Springs Road, it'll do so with a different mission in mind than most every other thrift shop in town.
Profits from every bit of clothing sold at this AIDS Healthcare Foundation-owned and -operated store will go toward HIV and AIDS healthcare, research, prevention and education.
Yeah, that's new, for sure.
The store, which comes to town as a part of a chain that already exists in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami areas, does more than just sell clothes, too, going so far as to provide healthcare to its clientele, even those without healthcare or the necessary funds to afford such treatment. The store provides free HIV testing services where people can receive their results in just one minute, and also hosts a pharmacy conjoined with a healthcare center, where it offers HIV and AIDS medications, as well as other pharmaceutical aids.
Long story short: The store, which is the first of its kind in Texas, fills a big need in the Dallas area thanks to these services. According to Bret Camp, the regional director of Texas with AHF, Dallas County has the highest per capita of HIV cases in the state. An estimated 17,000 people in Dallas County live with HIV, according to AHF statistics.
That's really what's cool about the 22-year-old Out of the Closet chain: Its clothes sales — cool clothes, mind you, and priced to sell — fund the AHF's fighting of of the good fight against HIV and AIDS. Nationally, AHF generates an estimated $13 million dollars each year through its chain of thrift stores.
“96 cents of every dollar goes back into the organization to provide treatment for people that are living with HIV/AIDS,” says Out of the Closet's general manager Jonathan Kreuyer. “It provides us [the funds] to do the labs, pay for the test kits and provide services.”
Starting tomorrow, the thrift store and its accompanying AHF healthcare center and pharmacy will be open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.
More thrift stores are expected to follow this location in the Texas area in the near future. No details have been set as of yet.
“We just don't know where that's gonna go yet,” Kreuyer says of future stores.
But, for now, he does know what Out of the Closet needs — merchandise.
“How the store maintains is with the community donating things to the store,” Kreuyer says. “We have a free pickup [service] that will go to people’s homes and pick up the merchandise, furniture, things like that and bring that back to the store to sell.”
Anything from books and glass wear to furniture and jewelry can be donated. And provided its clean and in decent, sellable condition, it'll likely be accepted. Clothes, of course, are among the bigger needs.
“The mission is to have it come through the back door and go out the front door as quickly as possible,” says Kreuyer.
As such, items will be priced to sell, with polo shirts (for example) going for anywhere from $3.99 to $6.99. In other words: Great deals will be found in Oak Lawn starting tomorrow. And they'll be found while customers are simultaneously helping improve the area's health conditions.
Talk about a win-win.