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Making Enid a better place

2020 VISION: Park Avenue Thrift’s mission is to help local organizations

  • 2 min to read
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Student artwork is displayed in the Emerging Artists' Gallery at Park Avenue Thrift in December 2018.

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.

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“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.

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Since opening in 2007, Park Avenue Thrift has donated more than $2.8 million to causes and charities in Enid.

“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.

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Since opening in 2007, Park Avenue Thrift has donated more than $2.8 million to causes and charities in Enid.

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.

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Eisenhower Elementary first-grader Micaiah Redman explanis his drawing to his dad, Covito Redmad, during the "Home Sweet Home" art show April 8, 2017, at Park Avenue Thrift.

“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.”


2020 Vision: All Community Service stories

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  • 10 min to read

“During these uncertain times, we can be thankful for our nonprofits and the generous donors who support them. Recognize how blessed you/we truly are and please remember to help those who are living from paycheck to paycheck or who are on the streets or in a shelter.” — Dan Schiedel, CEO of United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma.

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  • 3 min to read

One might think Keith Schwandt has his hands full as regional community president and executive vice president of InterBank, but he doesn’t stop there. Schwandt also is chairman of the board of directors for Integris Bass Baptist Hospital Foundation, a board of trustees member for Cherokee Strip Community Foundation, a board of directors member for Loaves & Fishes of Northwest Oklahoma and a member of Enid Rotary Club.

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Horton is a freelance writer for the Enid News & Eagle.

 

2020 Vision is a special section that will publish in the Enid News & Eagle for eight Sundays in February, March and April 2020. The section is designed to feature individuals, businesses and organizations in Enid and Northwest Oklahoma that work every day for the betterment of the region and its residents. This section, which published April 12, 2020, focuses on Community Service.

 

Read all sections at 2020 Vision: All stories

 

Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for the News & Eagle? Send an email to enidnews@enidnews.com.

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