Weaving its way into Fairview Park, Common Threads brings more than clothing to the community, but a core mission. After a successful grand opening that far exceeded expectations, founder Jeff Stredney and Brian Upton, Executive Director of Building Hope in the City, are excited to be able to share their passion with others and spread the word about their efforts to help communities thrive.
So what is their mission, and what is Common Threads?
“The idea of Common Threads was born from an opportunity identified by Cleveland non-profit Building Hope in the City (BHITC), a faith-based organization dedicated to helping urban families, children, refugees, immigrants and others who have been marginalized," Stredney and Upton said in a joint email. "A ‘common thread’ we saw in the people we serve was the need for them to have a good job, wage and employer.”
Common Threads not only serves as a support system through its employment and restoration of Cleveland’s urban neighborhoods, but also as a high-end retail entity that provides quality merchandise on a low-income budget.
“Common Threads was derived from the idea that people share many things in common…and finding a great bargain is among them," Stredney and Upton said.
Though identified as a thrift store, it is anything but your average discount outlet, bestowing individuality through unique floor design and displays that portray fashion-forward trends, while implementing easy navigation through contemporary appeal. Mannequins and floor-sets provide inspiration through staging (adding a personal touch with backdrops of threaded tapestries), while sorted shelving, racks and units allow for easy browsing. As a shopper, I felt warmly welcomed and taken aback by how organized the merchandise was presented, and how helpful the displays were in giving outfit ideas and decorative originality.
Common Threads has something for everyone, and any purpose; it’s your “one-stop-shop” for home décor, furniture, recreation, clothing and accessories.
“Mall shoppers, designer label seekers, consignment boutique fans, thrift aficionados, and never-been thrifters all feel comfortable in our space and comment on the quality of both our products and merchandise," Stredney and Upton said.
These factors aren’t the only things that distinctively set them apart from other non-profit thrift stores, but all the merchandise and profits are locally sourced and stay local; they provide a space for entrepreneurs called “Lydia’s Corner” (taking its name from the historical entrepreneur in the New Testament) that allows them to showcase and promote their work.
“We want to be known as a 100% local store, offering high-quality items (many designers), at great prices, with a great local mission to give back to the community," Stredney and Upton said.
Stredney and Upton are happy to see their concept become a reality through passion, purpose and personal sacrifice, and believe through collaborative efforts communities of Cleveland will be able to reach their full potential.
Common Threads is located at 22049 Lorain Road, Fairview Park, Ohio 44126.