LiftUp hires longtime businesswoman Jenny Wall to manage community thrift store
May 5, 2017
Steamboat Springs — Longtime Steamboat Springs resident Jenny Wall was all smiles as she buzzed around the floor of the LiftUp of Routt County thrift store Thursday morning, straightening racks, chatting with customers and helping them find just what they were seeking.
"It's an opportunity to give back to the community doing what I'm really good at and really experienced at," Wall said between helping customers. "I've come to understand what LiftUp really does for this community in terms of what it does with the money we raise in this store, and how much need there is."
Wall, who owned and operated the Moose Mountain Trading Company in downtown Steamboat Springs for more than 21 years, took over as LiftUp’s thrift store manager this week.
"Jenny started Wednesday. and we are just so fortunate and so excited to have her on staff," said Sue Fegelein, LiftUp executive director. "She knows everything about retail from merchandising — she knows where things should be in the store — to sales. She is a people person. She is always upbeat and welcoming. She is also very knowledgeable and will help us reach certain goals and sales targets."
The store plays a big role for the local nonprofit organization that helps people living on the economic margins enjoy the benefits of fresh food and job-readiness coaching. The money raised from sales at the community thrift store are used to support a number of programs including Rocket Pack, which provides healthy food to children during the summer and throughout the school year, and the PowerUp Work Readiness program to name just a few of LiftUp’s program.
The money generated by the thrift store is also used to support LiftUp's food bank. In 2016, LiftUp distributed 276,501 pounds of food to 1,966 low-income residents in Hayden, Steamboat and South Routt.
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Fegelein said the organization also receives grants and gifts from foundations that support nonprofits as well as assistance from Routt County United Way and the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation.
But the store is also great because it provides a service for the residents in Steamboat Springs. Wall said some people shop because the merchandise is affordable, but others shop because they are looking for a specific item or hoping to find a treasure in the store aisles.
"We are fortunate that we have the thrift store," Fegelein said. "When the community shops here, they are helping fund programs that help their friends and neighbors right here in Routt County."
Wall said she has come to understand the need and feels good that she can now help by doing what she knows best.
"I helped somebody a couple of weeks ago who was coming through town. She was living out of her van, and I directed her here … I was blown away by how much dignity they afforded her, how kind they were to her, how encouraging,” Wall said. “She was on the road looking for a place to settle, and she ended up staying here. This place had a lot to do with that … it was so meaningful to see LiftUp in action."
Fegelein said the addition of Wall is just one of several recent staff changes. Fegelein took over as executive director in March after former director Laura von Boecklin left to take a position with the Westminster Legacy Foundation.
Jeff Modesitt has assumed the role of community support manager, and Angela Mackey will continue to work as a case manager but will expand her role as the PowerUp work readiness specialist. Lina Grant, who used to be in charge of both the store and the donation center, will concentrate her attention on the donation center.
"She is awesome," Fegelein said of Grant, who has been with LiftUp for more than eight years. "She has revamped the donation center. This restructuring will have her completely focused on the donation center, which is just wonderful. Other changes will give office manager Suzanna Bloom a bigger role as she takes over some marketing responsibilities, and Kristyn Leary has been added on as a part-time volunteer coordinator.”
Fegelein said LiftUp also depends on its volunteer staff to help keep things running day to day.
"It has been awesome," Fegelein said. "I love it here. I love my staff, and the volunteers are incredible. We are dong really well with our programs, and everyone is on the same page."