• Mary-Claire Johnson

Restoration Thrift is a Little Store with a Big Mission

On funky St. Claude Avenue, there is a little pink store that’s making a big impact in the hearts and lives of its surrounding community members. Restoration Thrift is not your average thrift store and neither is its staff, mission, products, or atmosphere.


Little Store: Big Mission


At Restoration Thrift, they have a mission that sets them apart from the crowd. This store was created with the intention of restoring the community and furthering God’s glorious work. 


Restoration Thrift aims to create jobs for community members that have difficulty entering the workforce so that they can do so with dignity and support. The store also provides a quality shopping experience for it's customers with an amazing atmosphere and an exceptional staff that devote themselves to this meaningful work everyday. Many of the items in the store are one-of-a-kind products at low prices.


Restoration Thrift also provides a means for community members to give back to their community. Locals can donate through in-kind donations and volunteer at the store.


Ms. Joy showing off her awesome new mannequin at Restoration Thrift.

A Community Safe Haven 


Ms. Joy Williams, the store manager at RT, has been with Restoration Thrift since the opening and she still gets excited to see the store reaching its goals. “Every aspect of Restoration Thrift makes me excited,” she says, laughing, “I get excited when I’m sorting clothes because I know my customers so well and I know exactly who is going to get what.”


And by being in the store, it is evident that the staff at Restoration Thrift have a unique relationship with their customers. Many of the customers and staff know each other by name and greet one another with hugs. “We have a lot of customers that are special to us,” says Ms. Joy. “It’s been a life changing experience for me because I feel like God uses me in a way that I never thought I could be used.”


Ms. Joy explains how one customer reappeared after months of uncertainty about her whereabouts “One day I was working in the back sorting clothes and someone told me there was a lady who couldn’t come to the back to see me because she had leg problems, but she said she had to speak to me. I came to the front and she said, ‘Ms. Joy, I have 6 balloons and a stint in one leg, and 2 balloons and a stint in the other leg, but I just had to get here.’ And I just hugged her. Yeah, I’d say it’s a safe haven.” 


Ms. Joy has story after story of inspiring community members that say they just had to get to the store to experience its healing atmosphere. Some would say it’s the positive vibe that keeps customers returning to Restoration Thrift, the enthusiastic staff, the great products, or Ms. Joy herself. But she would disagree, “it has nothing to do with me. I have a listening ear, but it’s the presence of the Holy Spirit that draws people here.” 


The Future of Restoration Thrift


The store and team have been blessed time and time again since its opening in 2014. Recently, Restoration Thrift has hired a new, experienced employee who has previous experience working processing donations. Ms. Dimple has blessed the team with her expertise, and in return, Restoration Thrift has doubled its rate of processing donations. 


Thanks to Ms. Dimple, the $1 day sale is expected to run once every 2-4 weeks instead of its usual 6-8 weeks. This is a huge milestone for the staff and everyone seems to be excited. Especially Ms. Joy, “it’s like Christmas for me, because people are coming in and their buggies are full. I don’t sleep the night before because I know people are going to be lined up outside.” 


Staff, customers, and community members alike can benefit and help others benefit from the exciting work being done at Restoration Thrift. Not only is this unique store providing jobs and affordable goods to the community, it is providing the space for community members to thrive together. 



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(504) 564-7739

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1433 N Claiborne Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA

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