SUN CITY, AZ — A Sun City thrift store celebrated its grand opening on Tuesday. The location near 99th Avenue and Bell Road was instantly packed with customers, not only for the deals but in support of its mission.
“I prayed every day hoping it would be just as packed,” said store employee Alexandra Martinez. “I’m kind of a free bird and I’m used wherever they need me.”
Martinez is one of more than a half dozen employees helping shoppers by showing them jewelry and outfits off the rack, before checking them out at the register. What makes this store so unique is every one of these amazing workers is an adult with special needs.
“We want them to see that they make a difference and that this is their community and that they have something to call their own,” said Cynthia Edhuine.
Edhuine is the director of Advanced Independence. An organization dedicated to improving the lives of Arizonans with disabilities by teaching them life and jobs skills. The Glorious Treasures Thrift Store, an extension of that program, is now doing just that.
“We have some nice clothes,” said Virginia Needham, showing us around the store.
The items for sale are donated by the community. The money raised keeps folks like Needham employed.
“They are just as capable, just as willing to work as the next person, and we need to give them all that opportunity,” said shopper Cindy Cummins.
Cummins made the drive from Anthem and she certainly wouldn’t leave empty-handed, her arms overlapped with shirts, jackets, and more.
“That’s our biggest sale of the day,” shouts an excited employee.
It’s that type of support allowing this mission to thrive, something special education teacher Felicia Hymer recognized immediately.
“You know when people come here and shop at the store, they’re gonna see what they’re doing and they’re going to feel it in their heart,” said Hymer.
If you go:
10220 w Bell Rd, Ste. 116
Sun City, AZ 85351