By Lofton Wheeles For the Opelika Observer
A new thrift store in the Beauregard area is now open and ready to serve the community. Beauregard Thrift opened in February and store owner Brenda Claridy is looking to give back after being inspired by events that rocked two communities forever.
“Back when the tornado hit Beauregard, my fiancée was a member of the volunteer fire department as a trainee,” she said. “He was not supposed to go out into the field yet for something like that; however, because of [the fire department] being so short-handed and the huge devastation that tornado caused, he was thrown out into the field. Many of the bodies that he found and many of the injured people he found he knew and he grew up with, so it touched him and it caused him to not be able to continue on the fire department because it hurt him so deeply.
“Last month when the tornado hit Fultondale, Alabama, he insisted we go up there and help. So, I agreed and we went. However, when we got there, they were turning our donations away [because] they had far too many used clothes and didn’t want to accept anything other than new. They told us to take it to Goodwill or to the Salvation Army and we started to, but then we got to thinking about it. Our community, the community of Beauregard as well as Opelika and most of Lee County, are the ones who donated the clothes that we still had that were being turned away. My fiancée and I thought on it for a little while and then I told him ‘instead of taking this stuff to the Salvation Army or Goodwill, why not take it back home, open a thrift store and put it back into our community?”
One of the biggest hopes that Claridy said she has for Beauregard Thrift is that the store will give people in the Lee County community a bit of a boost when overcoming any burdens in their life.
“This store is here to help the community,” she said. “For example, if someone was to have a house fire, all we ask is that they bring us a fire report and we will help them with clothing, dishes or anything else in our store that we can help them with to get back on their feet free of charge. Once we have enough funds, if someone comes to us and tells us they can’t afford their utility bills for the month, as long as it’s a legitimate reason like they were laid off due to the coronavirus, they were injured and couldn’t work or sick and couldn’t work, we will try to help them with paying their utility bills.”
However, there have been some hardships with opening the new store.
“All I want to do is be able to help the community,” Claridy said. “However, as hard as I’ve tried, I’ve really haven’t been able to help anyone. I went on the fire department’s website and looked for house fires and asked for the families to get in touch with me so I can help them and have had no response.”
Claridy also wants the public to know that Beauregard Thrift is available, wants to help out those in the community in need and that, as she put it, “if it were not for [the community], this store wouldn’t even exist.”
“Like I’ve told my followers on Facebook this is not my store,” she said. “I might own it and I might run it, but this store belongs to the community. So if there is anybody out there in the Lee County area that needs help whether you’ve had a house fire, whether you’ve been laid off of work or whatever the case may be, please come on down and see us because that’s what we’re here for.”
Beauregard Thrift Store is located at 48 County Road 400 Beauregard, in Alabama, 36804.
For more information on the business, please visit its Facebook page facebook.com/ Beaureguard-Thrift-106 708571457850