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Clubhouse Shop To Hold Fall Estate Sale Oct. 13


Proceeds benefit those with mental illness through the non-profit Independence Center



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Tarza Tawfiq works on a display at the Clubhouse Shop, 4245 Forest Park Ave. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
October 10, 2012
Shopping is much more fun when the money spent goes to a good cause.

Clubhouse Shop at Independence Center, 4245 Forest Park Ave., is holding its annual fall estate sale on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. As always, the sale will offer better-than-usual bargains at better-than-usual prices.

Proceeds help the center provide vital services in psychiatric rehabilitation, employment, housing, wellness and clinical care to adults with serious and persistent mental illnesses.

Retail manager Michael Johnson said the shop, located between Sarah and Boyle avenues, offers an upscale resale environment.

"The stuff you see on a day-to-day basis is higher end," he said. "We get donations from every possible place. People affiliated with us will spread the word. We try to do as much outreach as possible."

Clubhouse will pick up larger items that donors are unable to deliver to the center. The more valuable items are tucked away and saved for the estate sale.

"Items like Limoges and Haviland china and Waterford crystal, we put back," Johnson said. "We have a relationship with other estate companies and when they are done with their sales, we will pick up what is left.

"When people call for a pickup, we will ask the condition, and if we can't use it, we will offer to dispose of it for a fee," he said. "We recycle and send things that we are not necessarily looking for down the line to other centers."

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Clubhouse Shop retail manager Michael Johnson sorts through merchandise. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
Johnson said that Clubhouse is more than a place to discover quality merchandise. Members of Independence Center staff the shop, which gives them a vested interest in its success.

"I've worked here 13 years and everyone is an equal," Johnson said. "When we do pickups, it's staff and a member. When we're selling at the front desk, it's staff and a member. We work together to get done what has to get done, and it develops a sense of community and ownership."

Johnson said members have a job that matters to them, and at the end of the day they know that they have accomplished something.

"They think, 'It was awesome because it mattered that I was somewhere and someone depended on me,'" he said.

Besides the china and crystal, the sale will feature pictures, lithographs, designer clothing and furniture, including some mission oak.

"We have an interesting sculpture by an artist named Navarro," Johnson said. "It is one of 36 recast in bronze. Some other auction sites have offered it for $2,800, but we haven't decided yet on our price."

A preview night will be held Friday, Oct. 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For $15, guests can enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while getting first choice of all the sale has to offer. Another way to purchase is on the club website: www.clubhouseshop.org.

Besides clothing and furniture, the shop offers antiques, collectibles and books.

Clubhouse Shop has another fundraiser scheduled, the Road Show Consignment Sale, for April of 2013.

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Terri Hodges sorts merchandise in the Clubhouse Shop. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
Independence Center

Independence Center started in 1981 in a house on West Pine, and in 2007 moved to its present location in a historic building that was once a manufacturing plant.

Exposed duct work, old brick pillars and painted concrete floors create an inviting atmosphere for the people who use the center's services.

On the two spacious floors, members can take advantage of services including an employment agency, an in-house bank, video lab and a fitness and wellness center.

"There was a huge need in the community," said Beth Brown, associate director for the center. "The first year, we had almost 80 people, and the second year, almost 200. Now we serve over 1,500 a year.

"We serve people with serious mental illnesses," Brown said. "They can be referred by their doctors, hospitals, or their families. They go through our enrollment, do a screening, talk about services, and, if they're eligible, sign up and try the services and see where they enjoy working."

The welcoming atmosphere of the center is conducive for members to feel like part of a community.

"If you have a mental illness and you feel alone and disenfranchised, when you come here, you have people to talk to," Brown said. "Many times these people feel isolated and unwelcome in other places, so they come here, feel welcome and see lots of people."

There's even a florist's shop, Martha's Flowers, that sells flowers, gift baskets and cards. The shop also creates arrangements for large community events.

The center operates on an annual $7 million budget, with funding derived through Medicaid, individual donors, private foundations, corporate donors, plus three major fundraising events a year. Dancing With St. Louis Stars is held in January, the Gibb Hecker Golf Tournament in June, and Summer Fusion in August.

For more information, call 533-4245 or visit www.clubhouseshop.org.

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