On the heels of an event that raised about $290,000, the Boys & Girls Club of the Ozarks announced this week they will be transferring the ownership of their thrift store to the nonprofit Generation Next.
CEO Billy Rader said the club’s decision came down to a matter of focusing their resources on accomplishing the Boys & Girls Club’s mission.
“We are in the business of running a Boys & Girls Club, not a thrift store,” Rader said.
He said the thrift store, which relied heavily on volunteers, was almost revenue neutral. The club employed one person to manage the thrift store. The thrift store is on Veterans Boulevard in downtown Branson.
“It was a blessing for a long time,” he said, telling that the club received a lot of community support over the past 10 years.
However, with the club’s annual Thanks4Giving Gala becoming more and more successful, it makes sense to put as much time and energy into that event as possible, Rader explained.
“It is time for us to focus all of our energy on the gala,” he said. “It is where you put your resources.”
On Monday, the store will reopen as Riley’s Treasures, a thrift store operated by Generation Next.
Riley Banks, a senior at Branson High School, founded Generation Next after taking a trip to Kenya at the age of 13. Currently, Generation Next operates a school in Kenya and is in the process of opening an orphanage there, as well. Over the years, the nonprofit has sent thousands of school supplies to children in need, as well as hygiene kits to young girls.
The nonprofit also does work locally, most recently working on a Christmas project to give gifts to Taney County families in need.
Rader said when Boys & Girls Club board members heard Generation Next was looking to open a thrift store, he said it made sense to transfer the ownership of the club’s thrift store to Generation Next. The space, Rader explained, is leased and Generation Next is taking over that lease. The contents have been given to Generation Next.
“It is a really easy transition for us,” he said.
Riley Banks’ mother, Tracy Banks, will operate the thrift store, as well as search for volunteers.
Tracy Banks explained that her daughter will work in the thrift store after school and on weekends.
“We had been looking at ways to fund her orphanage’s monthly budget,” Tracy Banks said.
She said Generation Next already has a 12,000-square-foot warehouse full of items, many new, they will be putting into the thrift store after they sell through the items already on the shelves.
“We have cases and cases of products,” she said. “It will feed her projects, even the ones we do here in Taney County.”
Tracy Banks said household items, clothing and shoes will be located on the lower level of the thrift store while furniture will be located on the upper level.
The space will be used for more than selling items, however.
“She is also going to utilize it for several Taney County projects,” Tracy Banks said.
One project Riley Banks is already working on is a prom dress drive. In the spring, she plans to host an event at the thrift store where girls in need will be able to receive a prom dress and have a fun time.
“It is so great,” Riley Banks said about the thrift store. “I think it will be a steady income for the orphanage.”