Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Contact Us | Home RSS

Village General Store expected to open Oct. 28

Secondhand store will benefit people with disabilities

October 16, 2011
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

New stores always make an impact, especially at the beginning of the holiday season.

That's what officials of the Village General Store hope will happen when the secondhand store opens on Oct. 28 in the former Northwoods Living work space.

Kathryn Cobeen, who works through Opportunity Village's chief development office, said the store is being opened by Opportunity Village, a partner with Northwoods Living in Fort Dodge, not just to raise funds, but as a good way to recycle.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Sandy Mickelson
Drew Sandkamp, of Fort Dodge, works on the former Northwoods Living workshop, 12 N. 25th St., that is expected to open Oct. 28 as the Village General Store. Northwoods Living and Opportunity Village, of Clear Lake, joined forces about two years ago. Clear Lake’s Village General Store has been in operation since 1972. A lot of Christmas items will be available when the store opens.

"We, as a nation, are wasteful," she said. "We're just filling the landfills. We've got to learn to use our resources better."

And that "better," she said, would be donating to the Village General Store. "It's a good way of being responsible."

Two years ago Northwoods Living in Fort Dodge merged with Opportunity Village, which already worked in Clarion, Eagle Grove and Webster City, among other places.

Fact Box

Items accepted:

Gently used clothing, shoes, kitchenware, holiday decorations, home decor, furniture in good repair, books, toys and costumes.

Items not accepted:

Furniture in need of repair, ruined furniture or mattresses, large appliances, microwaves, TVs, console stereos, nonworking electrical items or appliances, VCR and DVD players, computers and computer equipment, paint, encyclopedias, baby furnishings, dehumidifiers and tires.

Did you know?

Village General Store, 12 N. 25th St., is expected to open Oct. 28.

Store hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday and closed Monday.

Anyone interested in being a volunteer at the new secondhand store should contact Joan Portz, volunteer services coordinator, at 573-5757, ext. 306.

Donations are being accepted and should be dropped off under the awning on the driveway to the back of the store.

Paper bags, plastic bags and rubber bands also are needed.

The Village General Store reserves the right to refuse any donations.

No item should be left after hours.

The store provides a non-cash gift receipt at delivery.

"Our Northwoods Living goals and Opportunity Village goals and missions very much match," said Kris Hillmer-Pierson, a development assistant for Opportunity Village, which serves more then 680 people with intellectual disabilities, mental illness and other disabilities through northern Iowa.

She said, "The Village General Store accepts donations of items in good condition, to be sold to the public. All proceeds from the store go to support services to people with disabilities, so your donations are directly improving the lives of others. You also make the buyer happy when they find a great treasure at a bargain price."

Opening another secondhand store in Fort Dodge won't hurt existing stores, Hillmer-Pierson said. "If you have more than one, it's actually a plus."

Cobeen agreed. "It's like antique stores banding together."

With secondhand stores, customers never know what they'll find, nor is it likely they'll ever find the same items again. That's the nature of secondhand shopping.

Ivy Carnelley will be store manager at the Village General Store, and a search is under way to find an assistant manager. Volunteers will make up the work force. Some will be clients at Opportunity Village.

"We'll eventually need 70 volunteers," said Joan Portz, training and volunteer coordinator at Northwoods Living. The volunteers will sort, price and display merchandise, serve as cashiers, assist customers and research the value of antiques or collectibles that may be donated.

Volunteers also will pick up large donations, test electronic games and test and repair small appliances.

Cobeen doesn't worry about finding volunteers to keep the Village General Store open.

"People who volunteer always have one thing in common, which makes them nice people to know," she said. "They're all givers. You get to meet interesting people, and they're all givers."

The organization has been holding giant garage sales for years, said Portz, and this new store is just turning that practice into a business.

Hillmer-Pierson said "the store's purpose is to offer quality used clothing and household items at affordable prices to the community and to create opportunities to serve through volunteerism and with non-cash contributions."

The store also will provide jobs and training to people with disabilities, generate revenue for Village services to people with disabilities and increase awareness of Village services.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



I am looking for: