By: Chloe Bell
What began with two men looking for a van has evolved into one of Brantford’s thriftiest community supporters. Gary Reitsma and Jerry Bekendam, two board members of Why Not City Missions, were looking for a way to create stable funding for the charitable organization when the idea sparked: a thrift shop run on local donations and volunteers.
The re-Source Thrift Shop, located at 320 North Park Street, is a not-for-profit thrift store that uses its proceeds to support local non-government funded organizations, including Brantford Christian School, the Pregnancy Resource Centre, and Why Not Youth Centres. This stable funding has provided these facilities with the means to provide critical services and opportunities in the Brantford community that otherwise may not be possible. Reitsma and Bekendam make this possible using their own dedication and by empowering of volunteers and community.
“He’s not afraid to tackle any job,” said Reitsma of his business partner, when considering their five years together on this venture. One store, five investors, and $5000 each has evolved into over $400,000 in profit, a team of 60 volunteers, and a changed community.
The incredible, dedicated re-Source volunteer team is the heart of the store; they tackle everything from item processing and pricing to their pick-up and delivery service, which runs five days a week. With three to seven volunteers a day, the shop maintains a close-knit community that is “a place for [volunteers] to come and be welcome, and be a part of the family,” Reitsma spoke of their team.
Their superb customer service and teamwork creates warm, community environment that makes for an enjoyable shopping experience while helping give back. With gently used furniture, electronics, clothing, housewares, and more arranged into seasonal, eye-catching displays, the shop has become a hot-spot for thrifting in Brantford.
“You see the same faces all of the time,” Bekendam reported of their customer base, who are welcomed into the re-Source community with open doors. Generous donors and faithful customers reflect the shop and its team, and how, together, we can make change in our community.
For pick-up of ‘gently used’ furniture or large household items, please call the store at 226-250-0123.