Borrego Sun - Since 1949

By Kim Simas 

Julian Now Has A Thrift Store

 

Last updated 7/20/2020 at 1:25pm

The nonprofit organization, Julian Pathways, Inc. provides a variety of programs and services to the community of Julian. Not only does the group operate before/after school programs on the Julian Union School District campuses, they are also responsible for providing much needed social services within the community. For years the nonprofit received a large amount of donated clothes and shoes that were distributed to the elementary and middle school students in need. When a student's shoes fell apart during the school day or if a student was not prepared for the cold wind, Julian Pathways, Inc. has been able to step in to give out a pair of shoes or a jacket.

With Julian's rural location and demographics, it's become apparent that individuals and entire families are in need. Since the organization operates solely on grants and donations, being able to provide for an entire community takes a lot of support. Luckily, so many within Julian are willing to donate in any way that they can.

Prior to the global pandemic, members of Julian Pathways, Inc. had begun to toss around ideas regarding how to expand their services. With so many already wanting to donate clothes to the organization, Executive Director, Hilary Ward, thought that the community would benefit from a thrift store. A kind of resale store stocked with items from within and outside of the community that would be reasonably priced. In turn, proceeds would go back to servicing those in Julian. After a lot of discussion, research and planning, Ward and her team started building the groundwork for Julian's much awaited thrift store.

The quarantine hampered their efforts at first however, that let the organization concentrate on food distribution and supporting students with enrichment videos and activities. When it became apparent that restrictions would be lifted soon, the team got back to work pushing the thrift store along. Donations from staff, family and friends had already been quarantined for several weeks and preparations for opening under recommended guidelines became a major focus. With donated products and display fixtures from the Julian Mercantile and Michelle Harvey, who previously owned Julian Yesteryears, the organization kept their set up costs to a minimum. Word began to spread throughout the community and people reached out to donate items to the store. The extra time at home, gave many the opportunity to clean out their unwanted items and Julian Pathways, Inc. was very happy to take them.

On June 20, the Pathways Op Shop opened their doors for the first time. With custom made shirts and smiling faces, members of Julian Pathways, Inc. eagerly greeted customers. The organization has received a lot of positive reviews of the "upscale thrift store" and many are looking forward to donating to the cause. Ward and her lead staff will be volunteering much of their time to run the store. In the coming months, they hope to utilize volunteers within the community to keep costs at a minimum. That way more of the proceeds from the Op Shop sales can go back to the nonprofit's programs. The organization is also interested in providing retail work experience for those who need to expand their skills or are just entering the workforce. By doing so, the Pathways Op Shop's motto, "a place for opportunities" will definitely be fulfilled.

Ward recently commented, "It warms my heart to be able to provide a place for locals and visitors to shop, give back and support the Julian community. Everyone at Pathways has been working so hard to see this through and we're looking forward to the exciting changes our little shop will do for the community."

Visit their website at http://www.julianpathways.org to learn more about this wonderful organization. If you would like to make a donation to any of the programs and services that Julian Pathways, Inc. offers, contact them at 760-765-0661 x6 or via email at info@julianpathways.org.

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