ENID, Okla. — Since opening in 2007, Park Avenue Thrift has donated more than $2.8 million to causes and charities in Enid.
While primarily a thrift store, the nonprofit organization converts donations and money spent in the store into grants for civic, religious, arts and other community institutions and events.
Stela Jantzen became the executive director in July 2019. The Enid native moved back home in 2009 and opened a boutique, The Felt Bird. In 2012, she signed on as assistant director for Park Avenue Thrift, saying she loved the mission and all the organizations they had helped over the years.
“I loved shopping there, too,” Jantzen said. “Park Avenue Thrift supports organizations in Enid that enhance the quality of life in our community, such as visual and performing arts, education and organizations that make Enid a better place to live.”
The retail store offers a combination of new and used items. Jantzen said, with much of the inventory donated by individuals, but companies get involved, too.
“Companies like Walmart and Lowe’s also contribute,” she said, “and several local boutiques also donate to us. We are so incredibly thankful people think of us for their donations, because that’s what drives our whole store and what drives our mission.”
From its modest beginning in 2007, the organization has grown, so that it now comprises 26 full- and part-time employees and a board of seven members: Steven Mackie, Andrew Long, Angie Grothe, Anita Luetkemeyer, Lynn Smith, Nancy Roeming and Marianne Gray.
The 20,000-square-foot store has departments much like a Walmart or Target, including clothing, hardware, sporting goods, books, pet supplies and more. A tax receipt is available for donations, as Park Avenue Thrift is a 501(c)3.
“We also have a voucher program,” Jantzen said. “We offer 20 different Enid agencies vouchers that they can give out to their clients who need clothing, shoes, cooking utensils, etcetera. They can bring these vouchers in and get the items from us.”
Throughout the past 13 years, Park Avenue Thrift has supported a broad array of organizations including Main Street Enid, Gaslight Theatre, Enid Public Schools, Leonardo’s Children’s Museum, Enid Symphony, Loaves & Fishes of Northwest Oklahoma, Enid RSVP and Enid SPCA. They aren’t just focused on organizations, however.
“We also help fund events like Tri-State Music Festival, all Main Street Enid events, Chautauqua and CDSA Buzz Run,” Jantzen said.
The COVID-19 crisis has worked against any big plans for the immediate future, but Jantzen is upbeat about the organization going forward.
“Once we are able to reopen after the mandatory, non-essential business shutdown due to the pandemic, our hopes are to quickly return to providing great deals on thousands of great items and turning that money into making our city an even more vibrant place to live.”
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