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Community Thrift Store Celebrates 40 Years in San Francisco’s Mission District

PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from Globe Newswire
Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
December 23, 2022 GMT

San Francisco, Dec. 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This year Community Thrift Store celebrates 40 years of providing Bay Area residents with a place to donate and shop for gently used clothing and housewares while supporting local charitable causes. Community Thrift Store’s ongoing mission is to close the loop on consumer waste, give new life to donated merchandise, and provide a unique shopping experience—all while raising critical funds for more than 200 charity partners in the Bay Area. The non-profit partner organizations, with causes ranging from education and the environment to health and human rights, receive quarterly disbursements of funding. 

While San Francisco’s Mission District has seen significant changes throughout the last few decades, this independent non-profit business in the heart of the Valencia Street corridor has defied the odds since it opened in 1982. Community Thrift Store was founded by the Tavern Guild of San Francisco, which was the first gay business association in the United States. While the Tavern Guild’s initial purpose was to unify and protect gay bars, it became well-known for community fundraising and charitable events such as the Beaux Arts Ball. With an original roster of 69 charity partners, Community Thrift Store made an inaugural disbursement of $7,985.39 in March of 1983. 


Many of the organizations who partnered with Community Thrift Store in the early days are still active collaborators today, including The Women’s Building, a community arts and education center. Kelly Lockwood, the Finance Director of The Women’s Building says that, “The Women’s Building loves Community Thrift. We love to go easy on the environment by buying everything from supplies and furniture to decorations for our parties and events.” She also reports that, “in the last twenty years of our relationship we have received over $125,000 from this amazing organization!”  

One fortuitous move that surely has contributed to the success of Community Thrift Store was the decision to purchase 623 & 625 Valencia Street in 1993. While other thrift stores have had to leave the area due to rising rents, Community Thrift Store has remained in this space, which is paid off in full. When the Tavern Guild disbanded in 1995, The San Francisco Tavern Guild Foundation was established for the purpose of continuing operations at Community Thrift Store. In 2017, the store became a certified San Francisco Green Business.

Executive Director Brian Stump, who has been with Community Thrift Store for 17 years, is also taking this time to reflect on the strength of the community that has played such an important role in the organization’s mission. “The unique relationship between Community Thrift Store and our dedicated charity partners has kept this organization thriving over the past 40 years, enabling us to give back so much to those very communities who work to support us. We take pride in lifting up local organizations, change makers, and service providers with our non-traditional fundraising model that creates funding for their programs through supporters’ donated household goods. Community is truly at the heart of what we do. We’d like to acknowledge that every charity partner, every donor and every customer plays a key role in the continued success of Community Thrift Store!”


Community Thrift Store’s 200+ Charity Partners are at the heart of the Community Thrift Store mission. Charity partners are all 501-(c)(3) registered Bay Area non-profit organizations that are in compliance with city, county, state, and federal non-discrimination statutes. People who donate items get to choose which Charity Partner will benefit from their donation, with options ranging from arts, humanities, educational, and environmental organizations to groups that address homelessness, healthcare disparities, and veterans issues. For grassroots charities, the funding from Community Thrift Store can be a lifeline. At Shanti Project, a non-profit that has partnered with Community Thrift Store since 1982, Scarlett Chidgey, Director of Development, says that, “Over the years, funding from Community Thrift Store (thanks to generous donors who chose to support Shanti) has made a significant impact on our operations. Specifically, the financial contributions have helped make it possible for Shanti to thrive and continually evolve to meet the emerging needs of our community. We are truly grateful for the partnership and look forward to many years ahead!”

About Community Thrift Store
Community Thrift Store was founded in 1982 as a grassroots initiative to directly help community members in need. For almost 40 years, they have operated an award-winning independent establishment that provides a unique shopping experience, a tax-deductible donation opportunity, and critical funding for hundreds of Bay Area charities. They are also certified as a San Francisco Green Business for meeting high environmental standards. Learn more about donating to Community Thrift Store, including free furniture pickup within San Francisco. 
For additional information, please contact Brian Stump, Executive Director, at (415) 861-4910 (Ext. 0) or

Community Thrift Store 623 Valencia St. San Francisco, CA, 94110 (415) 861-4910 Brian Stump (415) 861-4910 (Ext. 0)