PORTAGE PARK — Owners of a beloved thrift shop at the western end of Portage Park are searching for new owners to take over after operating it for three years.
Greater Goods Community Thrift shop, 6025 W. Irving Park Road, a nonprofit owned by Big Shoulders Church, opened in September 2020 during the pandemic. Managers recently announced they’re looking for new owners because the congregation is merging with another church, and the shop will not be part of that deal, said Stacey Blaha, a former manager and a church member.
The merger discussions are preliminary, but church members decided not to put the expectation of carrying on a business onto whichever church they decide to join, Blaha said.
“We don’t want to hinge this store on the hopes that a church we merge with will want it,” she said.
The group is looking for new owners for the business who can maintain its integrity and dedicated community following. If no interested buyers come forward, the thrift shop will close in December and have a large liquidation sale to move their inventory, but Blaha said she hopes it doesn’t come to that.
Greater Goods Community Thrift opened to support the ministries and outreach programs of the church, and is financially successful, she said.
“We have decided to close the thrift shop at the end of the year, and we are hoping that somebody will want to purchase it,” Blaha said. “So, we are actively putting it out there that this is a turnkey business and anyone could step into this business and keep it going as it is.”
If the shop gets new owners, it will be the third time the business will have seen new leadership.
In 2011, owners of Perkolator coffee shop across the street opened Thrift & Thrive inside the storefront, building a loyal following and gathering a plethora of items from community donations. They sold it to the church group in 2020, Blaha said.
Under Blaha’s direction, Big Shoulders Church rebranded the shop and changed some of the layout and inventory, but the space and atmosphere is largely the same, she said.
With two floors of packed vintage items, jewelry, clothes, books, CDs, kitchenware and more at affordable prices, the store is a neighborhood staple and was named Chicago’s top thrift shop by TimeOut Chicago in April.
The shop sees regular customers like Dan Smith, who lives close by and comes in twice a week to scour new CDs and chat with the store employees. He’s been a customer since the shop was Thrift & Thrive, he said.
“[Big Shoulders Church] came in and we got along very well, so it’s more like family than just a store … there’s a warmth here,” Smith said.
He is sad to hear the shop might close but hopes new owners can swing in and keep the business going for the community. Maybe even the employees will stick around, he joked.
Blaha cannot take on the business again, but she and the congregation members are grateful for the constant community support and donations since they opened, she said. Just because the merger news signals a new chapter for the church, the business could still thrive, she said.
“We’re hoping that somebody would want to carry on the legacy,” she said. “It’s been a labor of love. I get really emotional talking about it, because it was hard and the community came and hugged us … they come in, they bring their stuff and have supported our mission.”
People interested in buying the business or who want more information can email Blaha at firstname.lastname@example.org. A series of open houses for prospective buyers will be announced on the shop’s Facebook page.
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