Thrift store provides community support

Kaitlyn Scoville, Copy Desk Chief

Located at 753 N. Main St. is a thrift store that may not be known to many. Run by just one manager and one full-time employee, this duo has brought happiness and deals to those in need.

“All of the items in our operation at this time are donated,” Doug Reitz, general manager of Second Chance Thrift Store, said. “We don’t buy anything; they’re given a second chance.”

Doug (Left) and Lonie (Right) in the Second Chance Thrift Store. (Photo by Kaitlyn Scoville / Advance-Titan)

“It’s a never-ending rummage sale with things from many homes,” John Hobbins, Oshkosh Area School District Multicultural Outreach Coordinator and pastor at Zion Lutheran Church said.

The thrift store not only offers clothes but household goods, furniture and even a year-round holiday section. Loni Beyer, the only full-time employee, has done price shopping herself and said that the prices at Second Chance Thrift are better than St. Vincent De Paul’s.

Reitz has been the general manager of the thrift store for nine years and has overlooked the store’s move from Sawyer Street to its current location on Main. Beyer is a single mother of two, and Second Chance came around when she needed the money to survive. She was hired four years ago as their only full-time employee.

“He’s the best boss I’ve ever had,” Beyer said of Reitz.

The thrift store offers vouchers for people who need clothing. An example Reitz said was that ex-prisoners would need clothing for a job interview, or a family would be in need of support after an emergency.

They also work with the Salvation Army, offering vouchers for their patrons to go to Second Chance after they closed their storefront.

Additionally, they have a number of volunteers from several sectors of the Oshkosh community, and they are in need of more.

The duo has seen volunteers who have been through the Winnebago County Drug Court, Workplace Development, disabled persons, seniors and even students come to help keep the store in good shape.

“Our job [at Second Chance] is to reach people with the love of Christ. Anything we can do that’s going to help the community, we look to do,” Ritchie Cole, pastor at Zion Lutheran Church and General Manager of Jericho Road Ministries, said.

Reitz said that the store has a very laid-back atmosphere, and Beyer explained that the job she holds there is like none other.

“I like seeing people happy with the things they find in the store,” she said. “It feels like family here. It’s my family away from my family.”

Those who are interested in volunteering opportunities at the Second Chance Thrift Store can call 420-230-3565.