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Turlock thrift shop takes it up a notch
Board members Kathy Smith, Gail Ballas, Sylvia Cox, Carrie deBruyn, Linda Tell and Jo Cunningham of Off Center Thrift & Gift pose in front of their storefront chalk board which tracks the nonprofit stores donations since its founding in 2006.

The common adage, “when one door closes, another one opens,” rings true for the ladies of Off Center Thrift & Gift in downtown Turlock, who brought not only a boutique style thrift store to the area, but kept several local volunteers’ hobby alive.

“When the Emanuel Medical Center thrift shop closed several years ago, a lot of volunteers lost their hobby. We started to check around and realized that founding a new thrift shop would not only benefit the community, but those volunteers involved at Emanuel could continue their efforts. It served as the catalyst for Off Center Thrift & Gift,” said Sylvia Cox, a founding member and president of the store’s board.

Off Center Thrift & Gift is a private, nonprofit located at 410 E. Olive Ave. in Turlock but serves a much wider community with 90 volunteers hailing from surrounding areas and ranging in age from 18 to 90 years old. The store sells gently used clothing, shoes, kitchen items, seasonal items, décor and even maintains a designer section to serve clientele as diverse as the items sold. While Off Center remains a dynamic environment for volunteers and shoppers alike, it is the board’s charitable roots that have made an impact on the surrounding communities. Through the help of volunteers and donors, Off Center Thrift & Gift has been able to raise $480,730 to donate to over 50 local nonprofits in the greater Stanislaus area since its founding in December 2006.

“Our volunteers are from all over, which is a big reason why we feel the need to donate to various areas,” said Cox.

Off Center donates to a variety of causes including the Turlock Community Theater, Hilmar Helping Hands, Relay for Life and the Sober Grad Nights in Delhi, Denair, Hilmar, Hughson, Patterson, and Turlock.

The store is governed by two committees,  Community Awareness Research Etc Committee, which handles the nonprofit application process, and a 10-member governing board whose founding members include: Gail Ballas, Michelle Benton, Sylvia Cox, Jo Cunningham, Carrie deBruyn, Cyndi Mall, Teresa Jackson, Kathy Smith, Linda Tell and Suzanne Wahl. All 10 founding members remain involved and attribute the store’s success to their reliable donors and a developed system that allows various people to maintain different aspects of the store.

“Everyone has realized their gift which they can use at the store, and it has really helped it evolve over the years,” said Kathy Smith.

Those interested in making donations to Off Center Thrift & Gift can do so on Fridays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Off Center accepts gently used merchandise except for electronics, mattresses or broken items.