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Arc Opportunities opening new thrift shop


There’s a new business coming to Shipshewana that will open in early July.

LaGrange County Arc Opportunities, Inc. is opening “The Arc Thrift Store” at 960 S. Van Buren St. in Shipshewana. They are currently working to set the store up and are seeking donations of good, sellable items to fill the store.

Why a thrift store? Arc Opportunities is looking for ways to generate more revenue to support the services they provide to individuals with disabilities and their families in LaGrange County. Budget shortfalls have made it necessary to cut one program, and the organization is looking for ways to keep that from happening again. Even as the need for support is on the rise, funding from the state and federal government continues to decline. Even with the support of the county and the community, Arc Opportunities is looking for ways to support themselves.

Donations are needed to fill the store to get it open. They are accepting donations of gently used clothing and household items. “We know people have a choice as to where they donate and we greatly appreciate everyone considering donating to Arc Opportunities,” said Arc Opportunities CEO Deb Seman. “If it’s something you would buy, then it’s something we will accept and sell.”

Donations also help keep the community green, as even items that are removed to make room for new treasures that come in will end up finding a use overseas for those in need. “Choosing to buy used, recycled, secondhand or vintage items is smart,” Seman added. “Buying thrift makes you feel good, but most of all, you will be making a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families here in LaGrange County.”

Donations can be dropped off at the thrift store in Shipshewana or at the Arc Opportunities location on CR 300N, just west of SR 9. Large furniture items can be scheduled for pickup.

The store is also looking to have volunteers help staff the store, as well as utilizing paid staff. Those interested can contact Vickie Carter-Stanford at 463-2653 for more information.

Currently, Arc serves 70 individuals on a daily basis. However, the state has identified 165 individuals waiting for services in the county. Arc knows that this is not a truly reflective number of those waiting for assistance, as they receive continuous calls from those looking to receive services for their loved ones. “Currently, the state is telling families that they can anticipate a wait of 12 to 20 years for services at the local level,” Seman said. “This is a difficult answer to get when you are desperate for help.”

The local Arc would like to be able to offer assistance to these families, and they hope that the additional income from the thrift store will be a start in that direction.