Best Of

Best Thrift Shop

Global Neighborhood Thrift & Vintage

click to enlarge Best Thrift Shop
Young Kwak photo
Stocking Associate Addis Eshete helps turn choas into clarity.

At Global Neighborhood's sprawling warehouse and storefront on the eastern edge of Spokane's University District, a dedicated team turns chaos and clutter into clarity and purpose.

Thousands of pounds of textiles, books, home goods and more pass through this 50,000-square-foot facility each week. Every donated item goes through a quick but discerning inspection by one of Global Neighborhood's attentive staff members before being sorted, priced and placed onto the sales floor or set aside for recycling.

The reasons Inlander readers love Global Neighborhood Thrift & Vintage are almost as myriad as the stuff people give to the nonprofit — from wedding dresses to wheelchairs — which employs newly arrived refugees, who in turn gain job skills and work experience as they get settled in the community.

Among the praise for Global Neighborhood shared by readers on this year's Best Of ballot, people mentioned the shop's cleanliness and quality item selection, affordable prices, highly organized book department, friendly and helpful employees, and much more. Most of all, people love Global Neighborhod's mission.

Founded in 2007 by Brent and Amy Hendricks, Global Neighborhood began to help refugees navigate life in America with things like English language classes.

"Over the course of the first three or four years, and building relationships with hundreds of people in the city, it became very apparent that jobs were the most needed thing," Brent Hendricks says.

That need resulted in the opening of the nonprofit's thrift store in 2010. Global Neighborhood gradually outgrew that space and moved to its current home at Trent Avenue and Hamilton Street in late 2019.

"That was a big jump," Hendricks says. "We more than doubled our retail space and added our warehouse operation, which has allowed us to focus much more on the environmental sustainability side. It allows us to divert as much as we can out of a landfill, but also to create different kinds of jobs and more jobs."

Those jobs range from operating a forklift and a textile baler to cashiering and picking out vintage clothing and housewares that will be part of the store's recently added vintage department. During the pandemic, staff took to selling such sought-after pieces online to reach more buyers, a move that proved incredibly popular.

Since opening Global Neighborhood Thrift more than a decade ago, Hendricks estimates the nonprofit has seen more than 200 refugees — from 33 countries around the world — "graduate" from its job-training program, which lasts from two to three months.

"We want to give them a realistic setting for job training and give them actual certifications for things so they can move on and get a higher wage," says Emily Ramirez, Global Neighborhood's job readiness program manager. "We want to set people up for success. Not just to get here and get employment, but to start building their life again."

2nd PLACE: Union Gospel Mission Thrift Store
3rd PLACE: Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest
NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Idaho Youth Ranch Thrift Store, Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls

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