July 2, 2022

The Clothes Line second hand shop is run by volunteers, and helps keep textiles out of landfills with proceeds supporting community programs

It’s been a few months since the second-hand shop, The Clothes Line opened in Bradford, and so far it’s been received well by the community, with many donations, increased hours of operation and repeat customers. 

With more time spent at home last year due to the pandemic, residents in Simcoe County had a lot of time to purge their closets, which resulted in an uptick in recycle and electronic waste by 144 per cent since 2019. 

That’s where places like the local thrift store The Clothes Line serves as a place for residents to bring their unwanted goods. 

The Clothes Line is located in Alliston, with a second location in Bradford, which opened this past fall. 

CONTACT Community Services has been in operation in South Simcoe for 40 years, providing employment and housing services in addition to free clothing for those in need out of The Clothes Line shop. 

The store is run by community volunteers who donate their time throughout the week to sort clothing, ring in sales and assist customers.  with profits going to support CONTACT Community Services and its charitable programming. 

“We are really hoping to secure some more volunteers, we want people from all walks of life who are looking to gain that experience and have that sense of community,” said CONTACT Executive Director Emily McIntosh. 

McIntosh says the Bradford store has been well received so far by shoppers and donors. 

“It’s a really special community,” she said. 

Year-to-date sales for the Bradford store are $1,650 (as of Feb.11), “and they continue to go up”, said McIntosh. 

There have been around 250 shoppers that have come through the store so far, with 25 per cent being repeat customers. 

“So people are obviously enjoying what they’re seeing,” said McIntosh. “We are changing over inventory frequently.”

Most recently the store added a small change room in the back area, for those looking to try on their finds before purchasing. 

The store works with local residents to help redirect unwanted clothing and small household items from the landfill by reselling them at affordable prices for people of all economic backgrounds. Donated items that cannot be put in the store, are recycled, which also generates income for the organization. 

“It allows us to maintain that quality of stock in the store while diverting from the landfill,” said McIntosh.

McIntosh hopes to see more shoppers in the store as word spreads in the community about it and its purpose.

“We want to generate a lot of interest,” said McIntosh, who says there is a lot of value in buying second-hand, “pre-loved” items. 

“We would encourage everyone to Marie-Kondo your place, and only keep the things that give you joy and allow other people to get joy from those other pieces,” she said. “The more money this store generates, it just means the more people we can help locally, which is an incredible feeling.”

Another reason to shop second hand she says is affordability. The racks can often be found with brand new items, sometimes brand names, with tags still attached. 

“It allows people to derive that joy when otherwise they might not be able to if everything always has to be new,” she said. 

The store is planning its first spring fashion show this June, featuring mystery models wearing some of the donated items, “which is really fun,” said McIntosh. 

The Clothes Line also offers free clothing and household items to anyone needing assistance or going through a financially difficult time, allowing them to shop for what they need. 

The Clothes Line is located at 95 Holland St. W., Unit #2, adjacent to the CONTACT Employment Services office (which provides free assistance and coaching to local job seekers to secure meaningful employment).

The store is open every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

For more information, visit their website here