Restoring Lives: Local thrift shop works to support the under-served

Published 1:39 pm Monday, March 28, 2022

A local thrift shop has made supporting the under-served community in Oxford and the greater community its mission.

Opened in September 2020, the Restored Thrift Boutique and Gift Shop sells donated clothing and shoes, accessories and gift items at an affordable price. Patrons can find outfits ranging from casual to formal and bridal and all within their budget.

Restored Thrift Shop also works in partnership with Beyond The Break, a non-profit advocacy organization that provides help for women in transition or crises situations. The owner of Restored and founder of Beyond the Break Deona Benson wants to help women in all walks of life and is finding a way to do it through her many ventures.

Within the advocacy organization, Benson has created a 30-to-90 day residential and healing program called Rapha’s House for adult women suffering from a crisis. Taglined “The House of Healing and Restoration,” Rapha’s provides a peaceful environment with day-to-day meals and necessities, professional counseling and therapy, and a need recovery plan all at no cost.

All the proceeds and donations made through Restored go into keeping programs like Rapha’s House running. According to the owner, it’s their mission to help those in emergency situations.

“Each donor knows that it first serves the needy whether that be someone at Rapha’s House that doesn’t have clothing, being just a part of our clothing closet or people that don’t have clothes, they are able to come and get the clothes that they need,” Benson said. “From that same [donation] inventory, we pull out for the store.”

To boost its brand and increase its customer base, Restored organized the Restored Fashion show at The Powerhouse for the public in early March.

“With just a little promotion on social media, several people from in the community volunteered to come out and be a part of it by coming to the store, just choosing a few outfits that they wanted to have some fun and model to showcase what we have going on at Restored Thrift Shop,” she said.

A majority of looks were pulled from Restored’s own racks, but the shop showcased two local designers, Talitha Kumi Jewels by Timber Heard and K633 by Jemero Carter.

“We did showcase several of Timber Heard’s pieces and Jemero Carter has his own stand-alone brand that we gave him room to advertise his t-shirts,” said Benson. “[Carter] is also in support of the mission, so he partners with Rapha’s House often.”

The Restored Fashion garnered a few hundred dollars in funds. Although the show was not as financially successful as they may have hoped, the benefits continued well after the event ended.

“We had more fun than we raised money, but it did help us the next week,” said Benson. “It brought in proceeds the next week because more people knew about the store and it increased our customer base.”

More customers mean more money and donations for Beyond the Break and Rapha’s House and more help for the under-served and houseless. Oxford and Lafayette County do not have many accessible or widely known programs for the under-served or houseless community. Benson told The Eagle that she receives calls for the needy “all the time.”

“I tell customers often that if they know someone who is in need of clothing, to reach out to us and let us know,” said Benson. “We like to provide from our supply to those who need clothes, can’t buy it even at thrifting prices, or are going through some type of crisis or burnout. We do assist in those situations when we can.”

Benson praised the communities response to Restored and is grateful for all the help the thrift shop and Rapha’s House have received.

“We’re not government funded by any means, so all the support at Restored or donations by any means is extremely helpful to us,” said Benson.

For more information on Beyond the Break or Rapha’s House, visit www.beyondthebreak.org. Restored Thrift Boutique and Gift Shop can be located at 1903 University Avenue in Suite 8.