Community Threads of Fenton working to make a difference in the Fenton

Jillian Ferry, Assistant Online Editor in Chief

Changing the price from $30 to $6.99, thrift shop owner Allen Ryckman hangs up leggings and other brand new active wear on shopping racks. The family owned and operated shop Community Threads of Fenton re-opened in January following a fire.

“We opened Nov. 3 and on Nov. 29 we had a fire,” Ryckman said. “One of my brand new rooftop units caught fire so we closed until Jan. 6 and have been open since then.”

Since reopening, Ryckman and his staff have been amazed by the Fenton communities response to the new store.

“In the couple months we’ve been there, I have an amazing group of loyal customers that are already coming in almost daily,” Ryckman said. “Even if they don’t buy anything they get a good feeling they enjoy shopping and browsing. We try to create an environment that’s real conducive for customers to spend some time here.”

Beyond selling new and used clothing, Community Threads of Fenton also helps out local groups such as boy scouts, sports teams and school groups.

“We do focus donation drives with groups out in the community,” Ryckman said. “They will do a donation drive for us and I will pay them for that and they can use that money for their projects and endeavors.”

Helping others and making a difference in the the community is something important to Ryckman. With a previous background of working in a thrift store environment, opening the store is his way of making a difference in the Fenton community. Community Threads of Fenton also sponsors events to help organizations raise money such as Adopt-A-Pet.

“About a year ago I got really really frustrated in the sense that I would never make a difference in Washington DC, maybe not even in Lansing,” Ryckman said. “But right here where we eat, where we live, where we play, where go to school, we can make a difference. If we can start making a difference right here overall the world is a little bit of a better place and I can do that by giving great deals to customers providing a spot to keep items out of landfills or for the folks that really really need an extra hand. I like being able to help lots and lots of people, I like the fact that today is Thursday and I can help Fenton Schools and Sunday we can do an event for Adopt-A-Pet and the next week we can do an event for the Boy Scouts it makes me feel good but at any given day I can make a difference.”

The store even offers a customer loyalty program that allows shoppers to earn discounts and other prizes such a 60 second shopping spree. Anyone can sign up either in store or on their facebook page.

“We do a lot of crazy fun things,” Ryckman said. “We try to do everything a little bit different for instance like our customer loyalty program and what you’ll do is get a five dollar purchase off but we also do hokey things like once you get so many points you’ll get a 60 second shopping spree and you can load up as much stuff in your cart for free, or you can redeem your points to choose our charity partner for the month and that’s just another way we can be a little bit different than everyone else out there.”

Community Threads of Fenton is located at 1370 North Leroy Street in the VG’s shopping plaza, and is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. until 5 p.m..