AIDS Thrift celebrates milestones

After its first month in business, Philadelphia AIDS Thrift wrote a check to AIDS Fund for $500. Earlier this month, the store wrote its latest check, this one for $8,000, a tangible example of the store’s growth.

PAT will celebrate its five-year anniversary — and a recent donation milestone — with a weekend of events and sales Sept. 24-26 at the store, 514 Bainbridge St.

Store owner and co-founder Tom Brennan said the thrift store, which donates a portion of proceeds each month to AIDS Fund, has been growing steadily since its September 2005 opening.

“When we started, someone mentioned having a goal of donating $5,000 a month. Our first check was for $500, so we were only at 10 percent of our goal, but it was good to have something to shoot for,” Brennan said. “That first year was slow; it took us months to even be open regularly, because everything was volunteer. But we knew it was going to be successful; it was just going to take some time.”

The original store was contained within two-thirds of the first floor and, in its first two years, it expanded to take over the full first floor, the second floor and a warehouse across the street.

PAT hit the $5,000-a-month mark last year and, when the decision was made to increase the monthly check to $8,000 this month, the store surpassed $200,000 in total donations to AIDS Fund in the past five years, putting the exact tally at $202,000.

It took PAT about three years to accumulate donations of $100,00 and another two to hit $200,000, and Brennan said the store is on track to garner another $100,000 in a little more than a year.

Brennan said support from the community has been vital to the store’s continued success.

“That’s been the most amazing part of this. When we opened our doors, I can’t explain how cramped it was because we had so many donations coming in. That’s why we needed the warehouse because we just had so much stuff that people were donating.”

The length that people will travel to ensure that their recycled items are put to good use is especially noteworthy, Brennan said.

“People who live in the neighborhood have always donated, but a lot of people drive an amazing distance to drop stuff off to us,” he said. “They come from the Main Line, from Gloucester County, all over the Philadelphia area, and I think that’s the most concrete example of how much people care. Obviously, gay men and lesbian women are most deeply connected to AIDS, but it’s also very touching when we get people who come in and say they lost their son in 1993 to AIDS and they’re still so connected to the cause that they’ll drive all the way from Jersey to give us their stuff.”

Supporters from around the region are invited to celebrate the store’s accomplishments this weekend.

From 8-11 p.m. Sept. 24, PAT will host a party in the warehouse, 527 Bainbridge St., with food, drinks and music. Shoppers will also be treated to sales throughout the weekend.

For more information, visit www.phillyaidsthrift.com.

AIDS Thrift celebrates milestones

By Jen Colletta PGN Staff Writer

After its first month in business, Philadelphia AIDS Thrift wrote a check to AIDS Fund for $500. Earlier this month, the store wrote its latest check, this one for $8,000, a tangible example of the store’s growth.

PAT will celebrate its five-year anniversary — and a recent donation milestone — with a weekend of events and sales Sept. 24-26 at the store, 514 Bainbridge St.

Store owner and co-founder Tom Brennan said the thrift store, which donates a portion of proceeds each month to AIDS Fund, has been growing steadily since its September 2005 opening.

“When we started, someone mentioned having a goal of donating $5,000 a month. Our first check was for $500, so we were only at 10 percent of our goal, but it was good to have something to shoot for,” Brennan said. “That first year was slow; it took us months to even be open regularly, because everything was volunteer. But we knew it was going to be successful; it was just going to take some time.”

The original store was contained within two-thirds of the first floor and, in its first two years, it expanded to take over the full first floor, the second floor and a warehouse across the street.

PAT hit the $5,000-a-month mark last year and, when the decision was made to increase the monthly check to $8,000 this month, the store surpassed $200,000 in total donations to AIDS Fund in the past five years, putting the exact tally at $202,000.

It took PAT about three years to accumulate donations of $100,00 and another two to hit $200,000, and Brennan said the store is on track to garner another $100,000 in a little more than a year.

Brennan said support from the community has been vital to the store’s continued success.

“That’s been the most amazing part of this. When we opened our doors, I can’t explain how cramped it was because we had so many donations coming in. That’s why we needed the warehouse because we just had so much stuff that people were donating.”

The length that people will travel to ensure that their recycled items are put to good use is especially noteworthy, Brennan said.

“People who live in the neighborhood have always donated, but a lot of people drive an amazing distance to drop stuff off to us,” he said. “They come from the Main Line, from Gloucester County, all over the Philadelphia area, and I think that’s the most concrete example of how much people care. Obviously, gay men and lesbian women are most deeply connected to AIDS, but it’s also very touching when we get people who come in and say they lost their son in 1993 to AIDS and they’re still so connected to the cause that they’ll drive all the way from Jersey to give us their stuff.”

Supporters from around the region are invited to celebrate the store’s accomplishments this weekend.

From 8-11 p.m. Sept. 24, PAT will host a party in the warehouse, 527 Bainbridge St., with food, drinks and music. Shoppers will also be treated to sales throughout the weekend.

For more information, visit www.phillyaidsthrift.com

Jen Colletta can be reached at [email protected]