Closing time: Nevada City’s Women of Worth thrift store to close
December 5, 2018
After a four-year run in their downtown Nevada City space, the Women of Worth thrift store will soon be closing its doors.
Women of Worth founder Sandy Escobar confirmed the news, saying the nonprofit, which serves victims of domestic and sexual violence, couldn't compete with ongoing problems with transients in the area. She said her organization has been met with escalating security costs and, coupled with the rent they pay for the space, the nonprofit is struggling to make ends meet.
Escobar said approximately $10,000 has been spent by Women of Worth on measures to make their Nevada City location more secure for its volunteers and employees.
"We have had to shell out money to upgrade our security system instead of going toward our mission," Escobar said. "We've had broken front doors, shattered glass, vandalism, tires slashed, harassment, feces on our bathroom floor. My car was vandalized, there are people shooting up in the back. We've had to install panic buttons.
"We have no choice, we can't afford it. It's caused us to go into the hole. When we're spending (our) money to fight the transient problem and not fight domestic violence, something is wrong."
Nevada City Police Lt. Chad Ellis said his department has received calls from the Women of Worth location, but no more than he considers average for the area.
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"We have dealt with issues at Women of Worth, but not necessarily any more than we have anywhere else around town with the transient population," Ellis said. "The population does exist, and it's obviously something that is a big deal for law enforcement, and just the cities in general, in how to best deal with the situation.
"We have certainly located homeless people in the parking lot of Women of Worth, but it's not any more than any other places in town. It's just an issue in town in general."
Escobar said her concern is that the issue especially affects her clientele who have withstood violence of some sort, whether domestic or sexual.
Escobar also said increasing rent on the retail space didn't help.
The intention of the Women of Worth thrift store is not just to raise money to fund the operation of Hetty's Haven, a transitional shelter for women and women with children looking to escape a domestic violence and/or sex trafficking or assault, but to offer a safe place where people can shop, chat and feel empowered, Escobar said.
She added that about one-third of Women of Worth's revenue was generated by the thrift store.
"It will cost us in some jobs," she said. "We only have a few here, but if we don't find another (location) we will have about three of us looking for jobs."
The goal is to have the store closed by Christmas, Escobar said, but the future is uncertain for the organization's crisis center, warehouse, and administration, all housed in the Nevada City location.
"We need an office space," she said. "We need a donated storage unit or little warehouse where we can store some items that we still need. This is going to drastically cut our revenue without having a thrift store, so we need monthly donors — people to step up and help us — in order to keep our shelter running."
A storewide liquidation sale has begun, offering 50 percent off all items. Although she is grateful for the generosity of the community, Escobar is sad to say that the thrift store will no longer be accepting donations of items unless they are specifically for the shelter. Monetary donations will continue to be accepted.
"I think what we've done with our store, it's more than just a thrift store," Escobar said. "It was truly a Saks Thrift Avenue. It was where people from the community and all over would come and sometimes they would just sit and have a cup of coffee and talk. That made them feel empowered and valued and needed.
"It's been very successful. It's just unfortunate these other problems kind of overshadowed it and started taking the money, diverting it from our mission."
Women of Worth thrift store is located at 224 Church St. in Nevada City.
Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com or 530-477-4231.
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