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Thrifty Circular Store is closing its doors, but hopes to reopen

Old Quebec Street Shoppes pop-up store with sliding scale pricing is set to close on March 28
Steph Clarke, communications and outreach manager for Guelph Tool Library, stands in front of the Circular Store.

With start-up funding having wound down, a pop-up thrift store with sliding scale pricing and a mission to keep clothing out of the landfill is set to close, though organizers hope it’s more of a hiatus than a shutdown.

The final day for the Circular Store, run by the Guelph Tool Library (GTL) inside Old Quebec Street Shoppes, is set for March 28.

“We’re really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” said GTL chair Clair Cowan. “We know the Circular Store is something that the Guelph community has really embraced.”

The store opened in February of last year, following on the heels of the Circular Fashion Festival. It was meant to be a one-year pop-up endeavour, but has become a downtown “staple” and organizers want to see it continue in some form.

“We are pursuing another funding model … to keep it going, ” Cowan explained.  “We are not planning to dawdle, but (re-opening) depends on what we can find and what’s available.

In addition to using start-up funding, which came through the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad, the store’s expenses were covered through sales and dollars from GTL.

“We’re eager to find ways to keep it going on in a new iteration,” said Cowan, noting finding a suitable downtown location is a priority for the store’s return. “A lot of our customers in the downtown area really were frequent shoppers and we would love to be able to come back and continue to serve those customers in the community.”

In addition to a thrift store, the shop houses community care bins where people can access toiletry and personal care items free of charge.

It also accepts several difficult-to-recycle items to be used that can be put to new uses or repurposed for others, such as coffee bags, oral care packaging, eyeglasses and cellphones.

“We worked with a partner that had end users lined up,” said Cowan.