Arc of St. Charles thrift store moving to Lakewood Drive

The Arc of St. Charles Cajun Village Thrift Store on U.S. Highway 90 is relocating to Luling and expected to reopen by early February.

The store is being moved into a former computer building at 114 Lakewood Drive, said Arc spokeswoman Kelsey Matthews Pollock. The location is slightly smaller than its current site at 6,000 square feet.

“We just want to be in a community,” Pollock said. “We’re trying to become a friendly neighborhood store.”Pollock said the store name will not change.

Arc’s bead store, called “Throw Me Something Mister Mardi Gras Merchandise,” is moving to a larger site. It will leave the thrift store and go to 50 Wade Street in Luling next to Southern Latte’ in the strip mall, she said.

“We’ve been taking bead donations and doing the bead resale, but are trying to become a one-stop shop for Mardi Gras,” Pollock said. “It’s why we changed the name, and we’d like to get into souvenirs.”

Arc’s shredding operation, called Swamp Shredders, a commercial shredding business of paper for entities like the IRS, also is moving to the new Cajun Village Thrift Store location.

All three relocations are expected to be done and the businesses reopened by January or early February. Grand opening celebrations are planned.

“We are regulated by the state to be integrated in the state, but we have four years to do it,” Pollock said. “We’re trying to achieve that goal in three years. The Arc is trying to be unsheltered and be in the community like everyone.”

Arc Executive Director Victoria Bryant said the store building also will provide space for events such as “Breast Cancer Awareness,” the United Way of St. Charles campaign, Domestic Violence Youth Partnership Programs and more.Bryant said the business relocations are part of a vision they’ve had for years as part of growing the agency’s work training programs and job hiring.

“Excitement is in the air,” Bryant said. “Everyone can finally see the vision that I’ve been speaking of for several years.”

Bryant said Arc has long had the vision of having separate business locations for its transitional vocational programs for individuals with developmental, intellectual and other disabilities, as well as seniors and youths.

“We will continue to see other business opportunities for those with different interests and abilities that may walk through our doors wanting more than we currently offer,” Bryant said.

These Arc businesses help prepare clients for work in the community, she added. This will include completing online applications, one-on-one interviews, interpersonal skills development, community businesses job shadowing.

Bryant said Arc is also focused on removing job barriers such as limited transportation, limited funding for job coaching, and finding job placements upon training completion.

Pollock said the Arc serves 150 clients. Of this total, eight to 10 clients each work in the thrift store, and bead and shredding departments. They rotate through the departments to learn different skills and responsibilities.

The goal is to transition them into community-based jobs within three years.

To make the move, the store will close this month. All donations should be dropped at the Arc office at 13771 Old Spanish Trail in Boutte from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.


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