Donations brighten thrift store

For this Costa Mesa thrift store, it was a grand opening, complete with a red carpet.

Working Wardrobes, the Costa Mesa-based nonprofit whose services include job placement, wardrobe assistance and career development, officially opened its second Orange County thrift shop this week with a small ribbon-cutting ceremony, music, food and a fashion show replete with affordable clothing.

So far, the 3,400-square-foot store at 803 W. 19th St. in the Vista Center is the No. 1 store of the Working Wardrobes organization, which has another thrift shop in Anaheim and two resale boutiques in Tustin and Laguna Niguel called The Hanger.

The Costa Mesa location, which began operations Dec. 27, is open Monday through Saturday.

All the merchandise has been donated. A manager, assistant and six volunteers run the store.

Ninety cents on every dollar goes to helping clients, said Working Wardrobes Chief Executive and founder Jerri Rosen.

"There's incredible merchandise here," she said. "We've got some very, very happy customers in Costa Mesa."

Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) was on hand Thursday to present Rosen with a certificate.

"We're here to congratulate them on their grand opening and thank them for contributing to the economic vitality in the community," he said.

Rosen said her organization receives about 35% of its overall revenue from its stores, so adding a fourth will only help more.

"That's significant," she said. "That means we can serve more clients."

Being in the Vista Center has meant customers are coming in droves, said store manager Cristina Calderon.

"It's nonstop, pretty much all day," she said.

Carlos Correa, who heads retail operations for Working Wardrobes, also said the opening has been strong.

"It's been a good time for us," he said. "We have a lot of good donors that have been providing us with good, quality clothing, not only for our clients over at the center, but stuff that we can replenish our stores with. We've been blessed that it's been a good year for donations."

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