A Shop with Heart: The Shidler-Wheeler Community Thrift Store
Sally Goin never could have dreamed that what started out as a reading journey with one single child would one day become a thriving, holistic community development center in the heart of a Southeast OKC neighborhood. Goin, a retired Edmond North school teacher, is blown away at what God has done over the past 16 years.
“I’m becoming convinced that we just don’t dream big enough.” she says. “All we need to do is be willing to step in and say ‘yes!’”
Faithworks of the Inner City built its community center building across from Shidler Elementary School in 2009 and it has quickly become a beloved gathering place, a home of sorts, for some 200-plus families in the Shidler-Wheeler neighborhood.
From this central hub, FaithWorks now provides a pre-school program, a housing program, after-school programs, teen and adult work programs, Summer programs, Bible studies, Sunday church services and a benevolent fund that helps families in crisis. It employs more than 30 members of the community who have struggled to find work in the past due to a lack of transportation and a void of businesses within walking distance.
In 2013, the newest addition to the FaithWorks family opened its doors around the corner from the community center- The Shidler-Wheeler Community Thrift Store. Jace Kirk, the assistant director of FaithWorks, is the acting manager of the store.
“Opening the thrift store has allowed us to have a touch in the neighborhood that we didn’t have before," Kirk said. "We’ve been able to meet and connect with members of the community that we didn’t have contact with previously.”
The store brings in all generations for shopping and conversation and also allows its 13 employees to build their resumes while receiving invaluable job training skills. The pride of ownership in the store can be seen in every square inch of the building, from the beautiful displays to the cleanliness and orderliness of the high quality clothing and goods. Many of the items are brand new and all are sold at an affordable price.
Every single item is lovingly sorted, inspected, and mended before ever hitting the shop floor, and nothing stained or dirty will get past the scrupulous eye of the dutiful employees.
Vicky, who helps run the thrift store, leads small craft and DIY workshops with some of the local neighborhood teens. Teresita is all smiles behind the register. Sarah and Alejandra are busy inspecting the latest donations in the back of the shop. This store is the pride and joy of many.
The Shidler-Wheeler Community Thrift Store offers great bargain days, including their ‘Quarter Sale’ when all clothing is only 25 cents each. They also occasionally have a ’10 for $1’ sale, where shoppers can purchase 10 clothing items for just one dollar. Seasonal and holiday displays are set out throughout the year so you can always find just what you need, when you need it, and their active Facebook page is a great resource for finding out about all of their latest deals and merchandise.
As manager, Kirk dreams of being able to open a small café next door to the thrift store in the near future, where the members of the community can gather over a cup of coffee and just relax.
“Everyone needs a place to gather as a community," he said. "Everyone needs to have a place where they feel like they belong.”
He is working hard alongside his team to provide that kind of a space for the Shidler-Wheeler neighborhood. His desire is that everyone would come to know about the Thrift Store and the value that it holds for the surrounding community and their families.
This hidden gem will undoubtedly become a place that you will want to return to again and again and again. It is a place full of heart and laughter, and well worth the trip- no matter where you may be coming from in the area. Located just off I-35 on 15th Street, its big yellow and black ‘Thrift Store’ sign is hard to miss. The store is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
How you can help: Visit and spread the word! The FaithWorks team is always on the look-out for donations of new or gently used clothing, household items, toys, jewelry, furniture and appliances. Donations can be brought to the store at 735 S.E. 15th St. in Oklahoma City, or pick up of your gently-used furniture items in the metro area is also available, if needed. To make a monetary donation to their cause or find out more information, visit www.faithworksokc.com.