Sophomore Ariel Ortiz did not expect to find anything of significance on her first outing to New Beginnings. However, within the racks of clothing, she found a Doane polo for only $2.50, a steal when compared to the bookstore prices on campus. This find has led Ortiz to become a dedicated shopper.
“I like being able to submerge myself in Nebraska culture and get winter clothes for cheap (prices) because Texas doesn’t sell a lot of winter clothes or Cornhusker gear,” Ortiz said.
Within the racks of clothes and the clothing lining, the walls of New Beginnings are many great deals, which may soon be unavailable if the business does not pick up.
New Beginnings is a nonprofit thrift store that was founded in 1985 and is run by board members of the Coordinated Intervention System for Domestic Abuse.
New Beginnings originally assisted victims of domestic violence by providing financial aid for housing, but since the decline in business, they can no longer afford to house people.
As a result, proceeds from the store now go to Crete Cares.
The store also helps homeless people and fire victims by providing free clothing and furniture.
Junior Michael Coffey volunteered at New Beginnings over the summer.
As a frequent shopper, Coffey said he knew the store required extra help and wanted to be involved in giving back to the Crete community.
He encourages fellow Doane students and Crete citizens to volunteer their time to the store and shop there since they have unique vintage items not found anywhere else.
Store manager Amy Schwisow said New Beginning’s financial troubles started after Nebraska raised the minimum wage to $9 per hour in 2016.
When wages went up, so did New Beginning’s utilities and rent.
The wage increase, along with a decrease in business and an uprise in theft has left the thrift shop struggling to keep its doors open.
Though New Beginnings is a nonprofit, they still need to make some money to pay bills at the end of the month, Schwisow said.
Without New Beginnings there would be no thrift store in Crete.
It is because of these financial struggles that New Beginnings is branching out to online sales to get new customers, but someone who is more technologically savvy is needed to improve their online presence.
Schwisow and frequent shopper Barb Ralston agree the best way to keep New Beginnings in business is to have more people shop there.
They want Doane students and the Crete community to know that there are store deals Monday through Friday on different items in the store and unique finds await everyone who shops there.
By volunteering time at the store, spreading the word to friends and family about the vintage finds and awesome deals and shopping at New Beginnings there is hope yet for New Beginnings to stay in business and continue to spread positivity and aid to the community.