Whispers of Hope coordinator Melissa Shulga (front, centre) and board chair Louise Heck (right) with thrift store volunteers Louise (left) and Michelle in front of the new Whispers of Hope thrift store location. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

Whispers of Hope coordinator Melissa Shulga (front, centre) and board chair Louise Heck (right) with thrift store volunteers Louise (left) and Michelle in front of the new Whispers of Hope thrift store location. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

Whispers settling into new store location

The group is still looking for a kitchen location.

The Whispers of Hope thrift store has found a new home, but a location for the community kitchen remains elusive.

According to Whispers coordinator Melissa Shulga, the store opened in its location on Third Street off Central Avenue on April 3, after a city council order to vacate the Riverside Drive location that formerly housed the community kitchen, as well as the thrift store, by the end of March.

While the moving process was stressful, Shulga said the group is happily settling into its new space, which houses just the thrift component of Whispers’ operations.

Business so far has been good, she said; while some customers are still discovering the new location, there seems to be an increase in foot traffic.

“We are seeing new faces, we are seeing old faces coming back, people seem really excited with how bright and sunny [the new location] is,” she said.

The impact of operating two spaces will be financially significant for the organization, she said, but noted the thrift store is focusing on its customer service and professionalism.

Shulga said there are no plans as of yet for the location of the community kitchen. The group is looking at different options, including buying land or a building, though the preferred option is a lease.

The organization’s annual general meeting is upcoming, and they hope that will yield some leads on a new home for the kitchen.

Overall, the new space has been a good fit, Shulga said, but the group hopes to have a kitchen soon.

“Without having the kitchen it is kind of hard to feel like we have things settled.”