WabiSabi, Moab’s only nonprofit thrift store, turns 10 years old this month.
To celebrate, shoppers are getting a deal. Every item in each of its two thrift stores – the Thriftique at 411 Locust Lane and the Warehouse at 1030 S. Bowling Alley Lane – is 50 percent off Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10.
Since WabiSabi first opened its doors in June 2002, the organization has grown both in size and in its outreach to the community, staff members say.
WabiSabi originated from a desire to create a thrift store that would serve as a community center for people to learn about other nonprofits and brainstorm about creative ways to make the world a better place. It was also intended to empower individuals to actively support their community by donating goods and helping area non-profits through their purchases.
Each month, WabiSabi receives several thousand tons of donations at its two thrift stores. This includes clothing, books, furniture, building materials and much more.
All donations are sold to raise money for Moab-area nonprofits and community programs. To date, WabiSabi has given more than $225,000 to other nonprofits and community organizations.
When people donate or make a purchase at WabiSabi, they can vote for one of WabiSabi’s sponsored nonprofit partners. Financial awards are distributed twice a year based on the number of votes each nonprofit receives. The more votes, the bigger the award.
This year, WabiSabi has 15 sponsored nonprofit partners: Arches Education Center, BEACON Afterschool Program, Canyonlands Community Recycling, Club Red: The Moab Teen Center, Community Rebuilds, Humane Society, KZMU, Moab Arts and Recreation Center, Moab Charter School, Moab Free Health Clinic, Moab Valley Multicultural Center, Native American Club, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Seekhaven and the Youth Garden Project.
In 2011, WabiSabi distributed $50,000 to its sponsored nonprofit partners.
The money raised at the thrift stores is also used to fund several other community events and organizations through WabiSabi’s Make A Difference in Moab Fund. WabiSabi’s board of directors established the Make a Difference in Moab Fund to help individuals bring their innovative projects to life. The fund awards small amounts of up to $500 to those projects that demonstrate ways to improve the environment, enhance quality of life, or increase sustainability as individuals and a community. The fund is open to all individuals and organizations whose work is making a difference in Moab.
Recently, WabiSabi gave funding to eight organizations through its Make A Difference in Moab Fund. These included tom toms for the Grand County High School Concert Band, rechargeable batteries for calculators at Grand County Middle School, diapers and food for the Family Support Center, musical equipment for Moab Taiko Dan, a Teen Guide in Training Program at Canyonlands Field Institute, the Moab Pride Festival, Grand County Hospice’s memorial garden and the Desert Voice, a publication of Moab Poets and Writers.
Materials donated to WabiSabi also assist other nonprofits and community organizations. In 2011, WabiSabi donated more than $10,000 of materials to 47 organizations including Grand County Schools, churches and local government departments. WabiSabi has partnered with several organizations that serve people in need. As part of this partnership, the organizations give vouchers to their clients for items at WabiSabi.
While the thrift stores are the heart of the organization, WabiSabi’s reach extends beyond the walls of its storefronts. WabiSabi engages in educational outreach for its local nonprofit partners and also puts on free workshops emphasizing sustainability and creative expression, as well as workshops aimed at assisting local nonprofits in all facets of their day-to-day operation in the community
WabiSabi also provides free community meals each winter. Through the Hands Up program, WabiSabi serves six Sunday brunches, a Thanksgiving dinner and a Christmas dinner. More than 100 volunteers cook, serve and clean for all eight of these meals.