Why you can’t keep a good thrift store down
In the REIT business, there’s always a transaction that stands out in your mind for being special, unique, or exceptionally rewarding on a personal level. For many of us at Kimco, that special transaction is our agreement with Opportunity Village, one of Nevada’s largest and most well-known charitable organizations.
Opportunity Village serves some 3,000 intellectually and physically disabled people annually through vocational training, community employment, day services, advocacy, and arts and social recreational programs. It also employs about 935 of its clients.
The organization is now leasing a 36,800-square-foot space at Kimco’s Decatur Meadows shopping center in Las Vegas. The space is the new home of Opportunity Villages’ popular Thrift Store, which had been destroyed in a fire two years ago. Many of Opportunity Village’s clients work at the Thrift Store, which offers new and gently used clothing, original artwork created by its workforce, furniture, appliances, and sporting goods, among other items.
So it was a poignant event when Opportunity Village celebrated its Thrift Store’s grand opening a couple weeks ago. It marked the hard work Opportunity Village has invested in bringing its Thrift Store back to life.
The grand opening held important meaning for us, too. Although the Opportunity Village Thrift Store is not a typical Kimco shopping center tenant, we feel passionate about it because of all the positive ways the organization gives back to its community. The grand opening event was a culmination and celebration of our collaborative efforts to help make Opportunity Village’s new Thrift Store space its permanent home.
That work included a three-month-long project to transform the space to meet Opportunity Village’s needs. We brought in a new, sophisticated HVAC system and remodeled the flooring. The layout was redesigned to accommodate a small warehouse just for storage in the back. We also removed the old mezzanine and several extra rooms for inventory. All in all, the Thrift Store gained approximately 16,800 square feet compared to its previous location for just about the same rent.
Everything was all set for the two-day grand opening event. The celebration started with a VIP event the night before the store opened to the public. I’ve never seen our shopping center’s parking lot more jam-packed. About 150 Opportunity Village folks and supporters turned out for the VIP night to experience the new space. Several Kimco team members joined me there as well.
Some Opportunity Village employees showed off donated clothing in a fun fashion show, while others featured their personal artwork in the store’s art studio and gallery section. Wine, cheese, and other hors d’oeuvres were served, and a DJ provided the soundtrack to a great evening.
But the celebration didn’t stop there. The next morning was the big ribbon-cutting ceremony, complete with music and a line of about 200 customers excited to be the first new Thrift Store shoppers.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman and Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian also came to welcome the Thrift Store to the neighborhood, as well as a great Elvis impersonator. Why Elvis? Here’s a fun factoid: Opportunity Village is the original manufacturer of the Elvis Presley scarf, which the King often gave out at his concerts.
There’s a lot of great history baked into Opportunity Village, and we’re proud to help give its Thrift Store its second start so it can continue making a positive difference in the Las Vegas community. We have a great partner in Opportunity Village and believe it will do well in its new location.