Rise, a nonprofit providing social services in the Hightstown/East Windsor area, has completed extensive renovations and a complete redesign of their Rise Thrift Store.
Originally constructed in 1930 as the home of the Hightstown Gazette, the building has significant historical value to the borough, according to information provided by Rise. On July 14, 2005, the Gazette ran its final issue shortly before the passing of Kathryn Dennis, who owned the paper alongside her brother, Palmer Dennis.
In 2006, Rise transformed the building on Rogers Avenue in Hightstown into the Greater Goods Thrift Store. Longtime employees of Rise have said the building smelled like printing presses, the walls and ceiling were stained from years of ink in the air, and finding small pieces of Hightstown Gazette history, like typeset letters, according to the statement.
Over time, some of the old characteristics that give the building its charm had begun to fall victim to age and elements, and the decision was made to breathe new life into what is now the Rise Thrift Store, according to the statement. The Rise team enlisted the help of designers, contractors, electricians, painters, sign companies, shelving companies and more with a goal of completely rebranding the store and completing the necessary interior renovations in a matter of weeks.
On Dec. 31, the Rise Thrift Store closed its doors to the public, paused donations and began the undertaking.
For nearly three weeks, everyone involved worked long days and nights to meet the timeline, and on Jan. 20 the Rise Thrift Store reopened to shoppers and donors with a new look and a whole new shopping experience.
Updates included a complete interior paint job, refinished floors, repairing cracked windows, new lighting to showcase the products, a new layout and merchandising plan that allows the space for shoppers to easily navigate the aisles, and a fully branded experience from the signage you see upon entry to the bags you receive when you make a purchase, according to the statement.
Nancy Walker Laudenberger, president of the Rise Board of Directors, is one of the many area residents excited about the changes.
“As a 44-year resident of Hightstown and serving more than 15 years on the Rise Board of Directors, the revitalization of the thrift store is one of the most important and rewarding projects that we have undertaken. As a frequent volunteer and shopper at the store I was thrilled to be part of the team to help achieve our goal to make the Rise Thrift Store a flagship destination for our community.
“With this renovation we hope that Rise Thrift will be one of the most visited businesses in Hightstown’s revitalized, walkable downtown area, attracting both shoppers and donors from around the region who appreciate how their patronage supports Rise’s vital community services,” she said in the statement.
The thrift store is just one part of the Rise organization. The mission of Rise is to assist local families and individuals in recovering from setbacks and achieving their full potential, and the store is an important source of income for achieving that mission. Every dollar spent on items sold at the Rise Thrift store goes right back into the community in the form of the many social services that Rise provides.