These Nashville-area thrift stores make all kinds of bargains possible

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All Things Possible executive Sam Kirk and manager Jeremy Fant in the Clarksville Pike thrift store.(Photo: Mary Hance / The Tennessean)Buy Photo

As an avid thrift store shopper, I like to know about the organizations and programs that these nonprofit stores support.

Goodwill‘s proceeds provide training and job placement for people with barriers to employment, Graceworks sales help the needy in Williamson County.

This ‘n That Thrift Shop supports St. Luke‘s Community House. ThriftSmart provides funds to Mercy Community Health Care, New Hope Academy and two other charities.

But I didn‘t know much about the All Things Possible stores or the Youth About Business programs they help support.

There are two All Things Possible thrift stores, one in the old Bordeaux Hardware store on Clarksville Pike in Nashville, and one that is three times larger in a former Food Lion on Lascassas Pike in Murfreesboro. They‘re typical thrift stores, selling an assortment of used items like clothing, books, furniture and household goods at rock bottom prices.

After seeing both stores, I wanted the backstory on Youth About Business, which I learned is a nonprofit which offers people ages 10 to 18 a hands-on look at the business world, along with leadership training and a chance to learn some valuable skills for business and personal success.

The year-round program combines a summer business camp that takes place on the campuses of Emory and Vanderbilt universities, with attractive trips (including cruises, trips to New York and the Mall of America) with follow-up sessions here during the year, and access to volunteer community business mentors (including executives from Nissan, Ernst & Young, Lifepoint, and Avondale partners) who spend time with the students to give them a realistic look at the work they do.

Executive director Sam Kirk, whose first career was as an executive with the Southwestern Company, founded Youth about Business in 1992 here in Nashville. The program started with seven students and now has had more than 7,000 youth participants in its programs that take place in New York, Atlanta, Memphis, Chicago, and Houston, as well as in the Nashville area.

Kirk said the thrift stores, which were introduced in 2004, serve three purposes: generating funds for Youth about Business, providing a training ground for some of the students who want to learn about retail, and offering much needed affordable merchandise to the communities they serve.

Kirk said the intent initially was to reach “underserved youth” and while that is still a priority, the program is much broader now, providing youth from all backgrounds a new way to develop a skill set for their future and offering a “viable alternative” to the drugs and gangs and crime that are a way of life in some of their neighborhoods. “It is not just about the store, it is about life,” he said, noting that there has been a 98 percent high school graduation rate for YAB students, and that many of them go on to pursue degrees at two and four year colleges.

The goal, he said, is to “expose them to things they may not have ever seen, and help them dream differently about their future. We want them to see how their lives can change.

“We try to show them that if you work hard, you can play hard too,‘‘ said Kirk, who introduced me to Jeremy Fant, who came through the program as a teen almost 20 years ago, and is now the proud manager of the Nashville All Things Possible store.

“I‘m living proof,” Fant said, adding that the program taught him and some of his peers that they could achieve all kind of things “but nobody is going to just give it to you, you have to go out and earn it.

“It broadened my horizons for sure,” said Fant, whose 15-year-old son, Jeremy Jr.,  is now in the program and serves on its leadership team.

“A lot of parents sign up their (10-14 year old) children because they see it as a positive program,” the elder Fant said, noting that once they are in high school, admission to the program becomes more selective, with the young people needing two teacher recommendations and having to write an essay about why they want to be part of the program.

The program is estimated to cost about $5,000 per youth per year, with parents contributing what they can, and the rest raised by the students, or subsidized by the store sales and community and corporate donations.

Now, back to the bargain shopping that attracted me to these stores in the first place: All Things Possible stores are a treasure hunt for sure, especially on special sale days that you can plan around from the store‘s monthly calendar.

There is a monthly half off storewide sale day, Kidz Korner Days, when almost all children‘s clothing is 99 cents and toys are 50 percent off, and senior days on Wednesdays, when seniors 60 and older get 40 percent off their total purchase. Wednesdays are also half off book days, and there is a large book department particularly in the Murfreesboro store.

Just enjoy the shopping and relish knowing that your spending helps young people help themselves.

It is a good way to stay cheap!

Reach Ms. Cheap at. Follow her on Facebook at , and at , and on Twitter , and catch her every Thursday at 11 a.m. on WTVF-Channel 5’s “Talk of the Town.”

About the All Things Possible stores:   

The thrift stores, which generate enough revenue each year to pay for as many as 10 students (they covered 20 students in the best ever year) are open 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday  at 3916 Clarksville Pike in Nashville ) and at 2061 Lascassas Pike in Murfreesboro ).

They always welcome donations of good quality items and you can call either store for a pickup of larger items.  There are monthly bag sales, including one on Sept. 10 where you pay $15 for all the clothing you can stuff in a bag. Sept. 10 is also a half off furniture sale day. 


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