Nonprofit boutique looking for new location to expand program, sales
Women Helping Women’s ReVive Boutique needs room to process, display donations
KAHULUI — ReVive Resale Boutique is searching for a new location with more space to support Women Helping Women in its mission of ending domestic violence.
“We’ve had such tremendous support in terms of donations that we need a larger space in order to process the donations,” said Shawn Moreland, manager of the store, a program of nonprofit Women Helping Women.
“The current space is teeny tiny,” she said. “We don’t have any storage space. We don’t have any processing space. It really limits what we’re able to keep and even put out on the floor, especially furniture.”
In its current location at Kahului Shopping Center, the store has less than 1,000 square feet filled with men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, household goods and small furniture pieces, Moreland said.
With twice as much space, it would be able to offer more merchandise to increase revenue while also providing job training, she said.
That was a goal when Women Helping Women opened the boutique in March 2011, said Executive Director Sanoe Ka’aihue.
“It was a good place for women who didn’t necessarily have job-ready skills, so they could get ready,” she said. “Over the past few years, we’ve lost touch with that.”
With Moreland stepping in and reorganizing the store back to its original boutique concept, “things are moving,” Ka’aihue said. “Her biggest need, definitely, is just space,” Ka’aihue said. “We would like to be able to offer a lot more than what we have.”
The agency is looking for an affordable location, ideally in Central Maui, that’s easily accessible, including by Maui Bus.
All proceeds from the boutique go to Women Helping Women, which runs domestic violence shelters on Maui and Lanai, a 24-hour hotline and other programs.
“A lot of people forget that the store is a part of our agency,” Ka’aihue said. “A lot of the donations we get, whatever doesn’t go to the shelter, also benefits the community in some way through that store.”
Moreland is the only paid employee of the store, which relies on volunteers.
She said it’s “the perfect job,” allowing her to use her degree in social work as well as retail experience she gained when she needed a second job as a single mother.
A core of about five volunteers has worked at the store since it reopened after Moreland was hired in October. Other volunteers come and go, including some referred by the state Judiciary community service program, Moreland said. Some people staying at the domestic violence shelter have volunteered, as well as some who are required to do community service to receive food stamps.
“This program is also helping create job skills for people who maybe have never been in the workforce or don’t have retail skills,” she said. “We help the community by teaching skills and offering community service opportunities.
“We really are a community-based program.”
College students on school breaks also have helped out, Ka’aihue said. Trini Rumley has volunteered for the past four months, after staying at the shelter eight times in the past.
“Each time, the gals there really, really supported me and encouraged me and loved me and I healed,” Rumley said.
While she was staying at the shelter, others took her to the ReVive boutique, where she was able to get a toothbrush, soap and clothing. “That was huge in my time of need because you’re running without anything,” she said.
“So many women that come in really need this place,” she said. “I’m so proud of us, that we can give back.”
Rumley is known as “the greeter” because she takes time to say hello and talk to customers.
She said many women coming into the store “just need somebody to talk to, to encourage them.”
“Yes, they buy things,” she said. “They’re mostly there, I think, because they feel safe. We’re just giving back that love and that understanding.”
After being closed for restructuring for a couple of months last fall, ReVive reopened with increased hours. In addition to Fridays and Saturdays, the store is open Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Other days Moreland and volunteers work to sort, price and organize donations.
“I don’t consider us a thrift store where we have piles of anything anywhere,” she said. “We are selective of what we put out, so we have quality merchandise for resale.”
Moreland has worked to increase the boutique’s social media presence on Facebook and Instagram, posting specials like a recent $1 sale for summer shorts and throw pillows.
Another recent post showed a donated Coach handbag with the tags still on. The store also has received donations of a Kate Spade wallet, designer-label swimsuits and T-shirts from a Maui surf shop.
“The donations are very generous, by virtue of the reputation of Women Helping Women and the cause,” Moreland said. “I believe Women Helping Women is very well supported by the community. They believe in the cause. So women that are cleaning out their closets and want to donate their items are more apt to bring them here.”
She said store revenue “is the highest that it’s been since its inception.” In part, that may be because of the closing of Savers thrift store in Kahului last year, Moreland said.
Usually, customers are waiting for the store to open Thursday morning.
“The regulars will come in first thing Thursday morning looking for treasures,” Moreland said. “We really are the only resale store that offers quality merchandise at low prices, community prices.” Most clothing costs from $1 to $8.
She said people complained about prices for secondhand merchandise at Savers and other stores. “So I keep the prices as low as I possibly can so the community can afford it, and they keep coming back for more,” she said.
Inside the standalone building, clothing and merchandise are neatly displayed.
“There’s not much curb appeal from the outside, but people love the vibe in here,” Moreland said. ReVive needs volunteers to work in the store and help transport bulkier donations, including furniture, Ka’aihue said. Volunteer by calling 495-0067. Donations are accepted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, as well as at Women Helping Women offices in Wailuku, Lahaina and Hana. ReVive doesn’t accept children’s clothing and toys, sporting goods, televisions, large furniture and large appliances.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org