Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa (BBBSO) is pleased to announce the grand opening of our new ‘Thrive Select Thrift’ storefront located at 1547 Merivale Road in the Emerald Plaza on Saturday, September 17, 2022. Thrive Select Thrift will operate as a vital and sustainable income generating project to support BBBSO’s youth mentorship programs.
Thrive Select Thrift features gently used women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, footwear and accessories that are high quality, fashionable and affordable. The store is stocked with clothing generously donated by community members via the twenty-five clothing bins placed across Ottawa, clothing drives and home pick-ups through BBBSO’s Clothes For Kids’ Sake program. Since our social enterprise launched in 2017, we have helped keep over one million pounds of clothing out of landfills and anticipate collecting over 400 thousand pounds in 2023.
As both a retail outlet and community hub, the store will deliver on BBBSO’s mission of supporting youth by offering opportunities for our mentees ages 15 to 24 to develop a range of important life skills, gain real work experience, build their confidence and begin thinking about their educational and career plans – all with the support of BBBSO staff. It will also help increase the sustainable stream of income our social enterprise provides, and help grow existing BBBSO mentoring programs.
Our “Thriving Community Hub” will host youth events and workshops, as well as provide free space for meetings or classes to our partner community agencies and other social enterprises who recycle, repurpose, or re-use.
Susan Ingram, Executive Director at BBBSO shares: “This Social Enterprise story started in 2015 when our Board of Directors took a chance and approved our purchase of five clothing bins, which with the help of an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant and partnerships with the Ottawa Catholic School Board and Grands Frères Grandes Soeurs d’Outaouais turned into 25 clothing bins across the city collecting over 1 million pounds of clothes in 5 years as Clothes for Kids Sake. Finally Phase 2 of our plan is coming to fruition- a retail store Thrive Select Thrift !
“This has been a project of love for myself, our Board of Directors and agency. I invite you to come out and support this innovative and creative way of raising funds for mentorship programs in Ottawa and creating a space for our youth and community to come together and THRIVE.
“Special thanks to RBC Foundation, RBC Career Launch, Ottawa Community Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ottawa Catholic School Board and Linebox Studio for supporting this initiative.”