LAWRENCETOWN - The newest addition to the social enterprise umbrella operated by Carleton Road Industries is a thrift shop located in the centre of Lawrencetown, almost across the street from the Carleton Road main base.
Carleton Road Industries is a non-profit, charitable adult services centre offering vocational and life skills training for adult residents of Annapolis County diagnosed with mental, intellectual, emotional and/or physical disabilities.
According to executive director MacKenzie Akin, Carleton Road “is all about promoting social enterprise for our program participants.”
The thrift shop, which opened this past August, “is the latest effort in our social enterprise,” he added.
The organization’s programming includes an adult woodworking shop, post office, gas bar and convenience store, all of which are operated, under the supervision of staff members, by Carleton Road participants.
“Our mandate,” Akin said, “is to provide high quality and diverse programs that will assist in a successful transition into the normal workforce… and… to provide meaningful employment opportunities.”
The thrift shop stocks donated used items that are put on display and resold.
“A lot of people donate things that other people often see as more valuable,” he said.
“It's like the old saying: 'one person's junk can be another's treasure.'”
The thrift shop has filled a gap in the community, he said.
The other parts of the social enterprise network, such as the gas bar and convenience store, have proven successful, and the thrift shop looks to be heading in a similar direction.
“It gives our participants a chance to put back into the community good, used quality items at affordable prices.”
The thrift shop has been open since August 14, in a space that, in the past, has hosted other businesses including a pharmacy and a toy store. Currently, the thrift shop shares space with a laundromat.
The thrift shop staff includes a supervisor, Sarah Roach, and four participants.
“I love working here,” said Roach.
“We've been busy. The days we're not busy with customers, we're busy with donations. Some days we're busy with both.”
The shop includes the 'retail area' on the main floor, a sorting and organization area in the rear, and room for storage on the second floor.
“We're always looking for something new, a way to create another social enterprise,” said Akin.
In addition to its other enterprises, Carleton Road splits, bags and delivers kindling, with contracts for several local stores. They package and deliver weekly sales flyers to homes in the Middleton to Lawrencetown area, and do service contracting of commercial packaging, photocopying, collating, recycling and various other contracts.
Carleton Road participants are also available for hire for property maintenance, for both contract and occasional customers. Services include spring and fall clean-ups, debris removal, wood piling, bush hogging, hedge trimming and other gardening and landscaping services.
Akin said an open house is planned for Friday, Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event, the theme of which is 'Sustainable Business in Rural Nova Scotia', is being held in conjunction with Conversations for the Common Good, an organization promoting social entreprise.
The open house, held at the Carleton Road facilities in Lawrencetown, will be a Common Good Solutions 'Conversations for the Common Good' meet-up and networking event, presented in partnership with the Social Enterprise Network of Nova Scotia.
There is no charge to attend, but those interested in attending are asked to register in advance at https://conversations-for-the-common-good-lawrencetown.eventbrite.ca.