Park Avenue Thrift is having fun helping Enid.
That is what co-founder Paula Nightengale said when she recently discussed the mission of Park Avenue, a local thrift store that does more than just sell donated items.
“We give away 100 percent of our profits to community endeavors,” she said.
Over half a million reasons
In the last 41⁄2 years, Park Avenue Thrift has donated $650,063.11 to the community, and that number continues to grow.
“We support what we call ‘The Big 5,’” Nightengale said. “That is the Enid Symphony, Gaslight Thea-tre, Leonardo’s (Discovery Warehouse), Main Street (Enid) and PEGASYS.”
More than $350,000 has been donated to “The Big 5,” but Park Avenue has given other donations to organizations such as RSVP, 4RKids, CDSA and Chautauqua and has donated more than $50,000 to education. Park Avenue also provides vouchers for thrift store items to people in need.
“We’ve given $180,000 in benevolence, where we’ve provided vouchers,” she said.
The ultimate mission of Park Avenue is to increase the quality of life in Enid.
“We think it’s the best place to live, and we want to support our hometown,” Nightengale said. “Each of us has a mandate to help those who are less fortunate.”
The idea for Park Avenue Thrift came to Nightengale and David Hume of Enid in June 2007. The city of Enid was facing possible budget cuts, and Nightengale and Hume had been looking for a mission in which to participate. They decided to start their own mission, helping Enid and the residents of the Enid.
Park Avenue Thrift was on the fast track from the moment the concept was formed.
“We got the keys to this building on July 1 (2007), and it’s been uphill all the way,” she said. “We opened on Oct. 1, 2007.”
Park Avenue Thrift had faithful volunteers help get the store ready in a few short months, she said, and now the store employs 30 people.
“Not only are we giving back to the community but we are providing jobs,” Nightengale said.