Thrift store set to expand

OutFITters makes good use of nearly $300,000 in tax credits

Thrift clothing for a cause is on the move. Less than a year after opening in Bicentennial Square, the Families in Transition thrift shop is getting ready to expand and move onto Main Street – with the help of hundreds of thousands of dollars in state tax credits.

The OutFITters Thrift Store Boutique, which sells donated upscale women’s clothing, opened last November at 5 Market Lane as a smaller version of the agency’s flagship store in Manchester. All proceeds support Families in Transition, which provides housing and social services for the homeless in Concord and Manchester.

“It’s a way for us to become more self-sufficient. . . . It’s a way for us to grow our resources, so we can help more people,” said Michele Talwani, the nonprofit’s director of economic development and marketing.

The Concord store was originally open three days a week. Now it’s open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. But bigger things are coming.

Last month, the state’s Community Development

Finance Authority announced that the store had been awarded more than $277,000 in tax credits to help it expand.

Talwani says that means the store will look for a larger space on Main Street, where it will begin selling men’s and children’s clothing in addition to its women’s inventory. It may sell donated furniture.

It also means jobs: Two or three full-time positions, with benefits, will be added. There’s now one full-time employee at the store, though Manchester-based staff come up to help out, Talwani said.

Nothing’s final yet, but Talwani said the nonprofit’s “ideal location” is 30 and 32 N. Main St., which would let the store grow its footprint to about 3,400 square feet, from its current 400 square feet. The storefronts used to house the Bookland Store and Ritz Camera shop.

The group has talked with the real estate agent, Talwani said, but “nothing’s promised. Nothing’s held for us.”

That’s because tax credits aren’t the same as cash in hand. Families in Transition must sell the credits to a bank or other business before it can make use of the money.

Talwani said the group doesn’t have buyers yet, “but we’ll definitely be asking for partners in this that have tax liability in this state and support the issues that we’re working towards.”

And fast, Talwani said, before the credits expire at the end of June.

“The quicker we can sell them, the quicker we can move onto Main Street and grow this and really embed ourselves in the Concord community,” she said.

Families in Transition owns the Bicentennial Square building and will find another use for the space there after the store moves, Talwani said.

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