After 13 years, New 2 You, Grand Rapids Christian Schools' upscale thrift store, has reached a true milestone: $5 million total contributed to tuition assistance. Started by two GRCS parents with the principle goals to provide tuition reduction to students, sell items to the community at a reduced cost and build a strong community of volunteers, New 2 You has become a GRCS staple of and a vital part of the Schools’ mission.
"We've always had a goal for sales growth," says Paul Holwerda, President of the New 2 You board. Founded in a small warehouse in 2003, the store soon moved to its current building, where they later constructed an addition with private donations. Now, the store earns $1 million in sales each year.
Holwerda explains that all of the store's profits go toward tuition reduction to make attendance possible for students who would otherwise not have the opportunity. "We knew the money would always go back to the schools," says Holwerda about the store's initial mission. He explains that they accomplish their ongoing fundraising goals—and their most recent $5 million goal—with 70 cents of each dollar going toward tuition reduction.
New 2 You also offsets costs by putting to work generous volunteers from the schools and the community. The majority that offer their time organizing and working the cash registers are grandparents, though Holwerda does welcome parents and students, as well.
In addition to the $5 million, New 2 You also contributes $150,000 to additional GRCS organizations, and in October 2017, hit $100,000 in record-breaking sales.
Moving forward, the store will continue to support GRCS with their unique, retail model. By buying at New 2 You, community members can feel good about their purchases and look good doing it!