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Secondhand store opens today

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Ogdensburg’s new secondhand store is offering more than just gently-used treasures. It’s arming its employees with job skills in tough economic climate.

In addition to offering dishes, blankets, sheets, pillows, gently used furniture and other household items, the store, Another Step, 205 Ford St., will provide employees with hands-on vocational experience.

The store’s employees are all members of Step-by-Step Inc., 211 Ford St. Members must be over the age of 18 and have a mental health diagnosis.

“We really see this as a stepping stone for our members,” Executive Director David A. Bayne said Friday. “They can take the skills they learn here into the community and find employment. There are many opportunities for vocational development: cleaning, use of a cash register and customer service.”

The store currently employs three Step-by-Step members. But several other members have volunteered marking prices, cleaning windows, and moving furniture, Mr. Bayne said.

“It would be great if we made money, but that is not our goal,” he said. “As you see by the prices, we are more about offering a service to our members and a way to bring the community in to see what we are all about. We just hope to make enough to pay the rent and utilities.”

Step-by-Step workers first got the idea after visiting Another’s Treasure in Saranac with St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center officials.

“The Psychiatric Center was instrumental in the process,” said Mr. Bayne. “They were encouraged us to look at it through a vocational point of view. They then helped us with advertising and many employees have donated items. The Amvets also gave us space, and stored and moved items.”

The store was also inpsired by the help of Debbie Abel, a Step-by-Step employee who passed away from cancer this year.

“She was not replaced,” said Mr. Bayne. “Instead, her salary contributed to the opening of the store. She loved arts, crafts and antiques. It’s a way of honoring her memory.”

The store will hold its grand opening today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Refreshments will be served. The store will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10 to 2 p.m.

The store is still accepting donations of gently used items. For drop off and pick up, just call 394-0597.

Step-by-Step will also hold an informational health fair Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fair is open to the public.

“This is really about the community together, and finding out what health resources are available,” said Step-by-Step office assistant Skye M. Sharp.

Twenty-five local agencies will be on hand to answer the community’s health questions. Lunch will be provided.

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