When you shop at Our Thrift Store you are not just supporting a local business; you are supporting the GEAR Foundation.
It stands for “Gainful Employment And Respect,” “Greater Earnings And Rewards” and “Grateful Employees and Relatives.” That organization is now an umbrella for two multi-purpose facilities in downtown Franklin: Our Thrift Store and Our Fulfillment Center, both of which create opportunities for training and jobs for those with special needs in the surrounding area.
Dave Krikac created the foundation, inspired by his daughter Sara, who is autistic. When she graduated from high school and began searching for a career, Dave realized that there were nearly 800 disabled and unemployed young adults in the county.
So, he started Our Thrift and Our Fullfillment.
Our Thrift, which is located at 1018 Columbia Avenue, started in 2003. It is the go-to spot for vintage clothing and other items in downtown Franklin.
Unlike other thrift or community stores, Our Thrift Store serves a unique purpose—it has created 25 ongoing jobs for young adults with disabilities.
Unlike other organizations, 100% of their proceeds go back into the GEAR Foundation’s services, allowing Our Thrift to expand programs and create more jobs as they grow in size and scope.
“Our Thrift Store provides opportunities beyond cloistered environments such as group homes or sheltered workshops,” their website reads. “Our Thrift Store and Our Fulfillment Center assists in mainstreaming special needs young adults. By providing the opportunity to have the young adults work and interact in a warm and friendly public setting, the program is having a tremendous impact in improving self-image and boosting confidence. Most importantly, these businesses provide real hope for an independent life beyond an educational setting. In addition, parents are thrilled with the results and the promise of a stable future for their special child.”