Arlington Urban Ministries’ Nu2U resale shop moves to larger space in Pantego

Posted Monday, Sep. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Moving is always a headache, but the folks at Arlington Urban Ministries decided it would be worth all the work involved to relocate their popular Nu2U Resale Shop to a larger and more visible location that offers more potential to attract new customers and donors.

In mid-July, the storefront on Pioneer Parkway closed after 11 years and a 6,000-square-foot store opened to replace it in the Village Park Shopping Center at 2220 W. Park Row Drive.

“We have more room here at the new store — about 800 additional square feet,” said store manager Nancy Binkley. “And now we have space for furniture and larger items that we couldn’t offer in our old location.”

Joan Church, executive director of Arlington Urban Ministries, said volunteers “were a huge blessing throughout the move.”

“They helped pack and move items to the new store, as well as dismantle and reassemble shelves and counters,” she said. “Volunteers painted the entire new space and installed new ceiling tiles, as well as built three dressing rooms for our customers.”

The soft opening of the store was July 31, and the official grand opening is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Proceeds from store sales support Arlington Urban Ministries’ mission to reduce homelessness by providing help for low-income families.

“We want our customers to know when they shop or donate to Nu2U they are supporting emergency assistance programs for Arlington’s impoverished,” said Church.

“We are an upscale resale, not a thrift shop,” Binkley stressed. “Our boutique area has brand and designer labels including Jones New York, Coldwater Creek, Talbots, White House/Black Market, Chico’s, Ann Taylor Loft and lots of other nice lines.”

Nestled in one corner of the store is a bridal shop with an impressive collection of like-new wedding gowns and bridal accessories. Another rack was packed with special-occasion dresses alongside a display filled with evening bags and shoes.

Like a mini-department store, the shop has electronics, books, furniture, home accessories, children’s apparel, toys, baby accessories, housewares, fine and casual china, crystal and linens. A clearance area had a varied assortment of items.

The main categories are women’s and men’s apparel and shoes, belts, purses and jewelry.

Along with five paid employees, the store is staffed by 35 regular volunteers. Church said that Binkley was one of the first volunteers in 2002.

“She had volunteered every Saturday until she became store manager in June 2012,” Church said.

Dedicated volunteers

When longtime volunteer Ken Hardin’s wife, Joyce, asked him years ago to stop by the store to replace a few fluorescent light bulbs, he didn’t envision that more than a decade later he would still be a regular.

Hardin’s main role now is to test all the electronics, battery-operated items and small appliances and get them fully operational before they go on the sales floor.

“I like to play with this stuff and see how it works,” he said, gesturing to the variety of PCs, monitors, TVs and other electronics spread over his workspace in the stockroom. “We don’t put anything out unless it works.”

Busy processing new merchandise was Pearl McDaniel, a very youthful 89-year old who has worked at least two days a week for the past 10 years. After a long retail sales career in San Francisco, McDaniel volunteered for nearly 30 years in a charity resale shop in Kerrville before moving to Arlington.

She heard about Nu2U from a neighbor and said volunteering at the store seemed like a natural transition after her long history in retail.

“I do it because it keeps me busy and I love being with people,” McDaniel said.

One of the perks of working at the store, she said, is the chance to get good deals. After all, she sees new merchandise as it comes in from donors.

“I brought my credit card today to buy some things that Nancy is holding,” McDaniel said, patting her pocket.

The women in her Sunday school class routinely compliment her on her clothes and ask if her outfit came from Nu2U, she said.

Big plans for store

Several racks packed with school uniforms — tops and bottoms marked at $4 each — and a bin filled with school notebooks and supplies were donated by the Wal-Mart Supercenter on South Cooper Street. Binkley said the merchandise was donated as part of the retailer’s community outreach program.

Binkley said the store will have end-of-season sales and clearances. She hoped to have seasonal items for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas out soon.

“Our initial milestone is to reach $500,000 in annual sales,” Church said. “The more revenue Nu2U can generate, the more low-income families [Arlington Urban Ministries] can assist. With the support from new customers and donors, in addition to our loyal customers and donors, I know we can accomplish these goals.”

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Donations of new and gently used items are accepted until 4 p.m. each day.

Anyone interested in volunteering can stop by the store and get an application or request one by emailing Nu2U@att.net or calling Binkley at 817-795-6379.

Prizes, coupons and store specials are planned for grand opening Saturday. In the meantime, Binkley invites customers to enjoy preview shopping and scoop up a bargain or two before the big day.

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