A new thrift store is giving those in need the skills necessary to build better lives for themselves.
The Urban Star Vintage Boutique in the Westover Plaza offers welfare-to-work recipients a retail environment in which to hone their job skills. Funded by a $1 million grant from the Department of Social Services, Urban Star is operated by the Star Project in conjunction with the Broome County Urban League. The store sells used clothing, knick-knacks, and household items that are donated to the Urban League. Between the recycling center, where goods are sorted and evaluated, and the retail store, the operation employs over a hundred people, including Shakeema Briggs.
Shakeema Briggs says, "I love it. It's a great opportunity for everybody to get work experience, even if you're not that good at working. You just come in and have fun. We love being here."
The goal is to make the business self-sufficient by the time the grant runs out next Spring. As well as to provide work experience that will allow DSS recipients to find retail employment elsewhere. Proceeds from the operation benefit the Urban League. You can donate gently used items at the Urban League's Binghamton headquarters on Carroll Street.