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A Million Ways to Share and Care

Hartville News | Published on 4/7/2022





Last year, the Mennonite Central committee thrift shop in Hartville donated $1 million in profits to the organization's programs around the world, and, on March 28, they duplicated that by presenting a check of $1,015,208.

Phil Stauffer, Hartville thrift Shoppe Manger, and store volunteers Martha Gingerich, Lorene Coblentz, Sarah Troyer, Vi Troyer and Ruby Schrock present the check to Eric Kurtz, MCC Great Lakes executive director.

MCC, a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches, shares God's love and compassion for all in the name of Christ by responding to basic human needs and working for peace and justice. MCC envisions communities worldwide in right relationship with God, one another and creation.  Their website is mcc.org.

The large donation from the Hartville MCC Thrift Shoppe isn't thanks to an auction, special sale or a sudden influx of cash.  It's made possible by a long history of people committed to MCC's vision of relief, development and peace in the name of Christ, Stauffer says.

"It's the legacy that came before the dillion dollars that made it possible.  It wasn't anything we did last year.  There's a long history that came before it," said Stauffer, who has managed the shop since 2012.

The 29,000 square foot building boasts racks and racks of clothing, a housewares section, books, movies and furniture, but it wasn't always such a large operation.

Roughly 43 years ago, the Hartville Thrift Shop was founded by a group of women who heard about turning second-hand clothing into money to support MCC.

The original shop was in a house owned by Howard and Sarah Miller, which they rented to the thrift shop founders for one dollar a year.

Now, some of the children and grandchildren of those founders continue to be involved with the shop, sitting on the board, and supporting the shop in other ways.

"That legacy has gone on, that support from the community and from those women that started it and those families," Stauffer said.

Growing up, Stauffer's mother would wash clothing for his local MCC thrift shop.

"MCC and MCC Thrift has a long history in my mind and my makeup.  It's very important,"  Stauffer said.  "I also see tis as a calling and as my way of serving God and contributing to His Kingdom on earth."

Proceeds from MCC Thrift shops like Hartville support MCC's work around the world, providing food, blankets, medications and other supplies in places like Ukraine during times of crises.  Already last year, $1,586,000 was given to Ukraine.  The thrift shops also support long-term development work like improving the quality of educations, providing clean water, training farmers on new agricultural techniques and offering loans and support so people can start their own businesses.








Merchandise
Since Stauffer started in his role in 2012, the shop has grown exponentially from an 8,000 square-foot building that was packed wall to wall on two floors.

That year, the shop expanded to 13,000 square feet, and then 20,000 square feet in 2019, and the shop continued to grow from there.

"The numbers were bearing out that we're going to get to the point where we can give $1 million dollars.  And we said, if we're going to make this move into a larger space, that's our goal."

In fact, the local chamber of commerce was coming out to do ribbon cuttings for their expansions so often, it dubbed the thrift shop "the king of ribbon cuttings," said volunteer coordinator Brenda La Tulippe.  The Thrift Shoppe currently has approximately 130 volunteers.

In addition to a legacy of generous donors and volunteers, Stauffer credits the success of the shop to the local buyers.

Hartville has a lot of resellers who buy from MCC and sell curated items at the local flea market, in vintage stores and online.  Even so, the thrift shop hasn't raised its prices for 10 years, seeing affordability as an important role they can play for those in need.  "We see it as a ministry to the community," Stauffer said.

The pandemic has been tough on the shop's volunteer base, and management had to hire paid staff to ensure the shop stayed up and running.

Even with added expenses, Stauffer still hopes to meet and exceed his financial goals in the coming years.

"We anticipate and hope to continue to give significant amounts to MCC."

MCC began in 1920 and began to open up thrift shops in 1972 in the United States and Canada.  They provide support to 47 countries.

There are six other MCC shops in Ohio in the cities of Bluffton, the 1st to open in Ohio, Archbold, Plain City, West Liberty, Kidron and Millersburg.  The stores provide approximately one third of the income received by MCC, contributing $250 million over the last 50 years.





The Lake Township Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit business organization established in 1988. The Lake Township Chamber of Commerce is a valuable resource for local businesses.

Our mission is to create a positive environment to promote the success and growth of businesses, while reflecting the values of the community. We strongly believe in this mission and in offering our members valid reasons for belonging.





PO Box 1207
Hartville, OH 44632
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info@lakechamber.com

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