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Nonprofit expands reach

Abba House store will be on Ga. 400

POSTED: August 28, 2013 4:00 a.m.

An area nonprofit known primarily in neighboring Forsyth County soon will increase its presence in Dawson County.

Abba House Inc., a long-term residential ministry for women battling addiction and mental health issues, plans to move its popular thrift store into the former Outdoor Traditions building at Ga. 400 and Hwy. 136.

"We've been working on this location for about four years, trying to get a lease on the building. It's a beautiful facility," said Jim Sharp, co-founder and executive director of Abba House.

"Right here on [Ga.] 400 is a great location. This was a successful operation previously, so we know it's a good location. Almost everyone knows where Outdoor Traditions was."

Currently in its 13th year of operation in the area, the organization has proved quite successful, with 93.8 percent of women avoiding a relapse and 100 percent remaining out of jail.

Abba House previously had only a small presence in Dawson County, with a thrift store off Hwy. 9 near the Silver City community on the Dawson/Forsyth County line.

"We're really excited about this," Sharp said. "I think a lot more people know about us in Forsyth County. Hopefully, this opening will bring more exposure to the people of Dawson County, not just on the south end."

Abba House currently feeds about 100 families a month at its facility near the Dawson County line. According to Sharp, the organization hopes to help more women transition back into society.

"Our thrift stores are run almost exclusively by the women in the program," he said. "This is a retail operation, but we have women in training as supervisors and retail workers."

By teaching work place skills, Abba House is providing those in their care a means to gain work experience and training.

"A lot of these women have never worked before," Sharp said. "When you are young, start using drugs and drop out of school, the only job you know is selling yourself or drugs.

"We're teaching them to do an honest day's work and we hope this can be a center where a lot of women can come and learn job skills."

Abba House also will be working with the women on classes to get their GEDs, with hopes that the new store site will help raise more funds to offer night classes.

But this new store isn't solely for the benefit of Abba House residents.

The community can also benefit, according to Sharp, by being able to purchase quality items at a lower cost.

"We're starting a few new programs here. Sealy Mattresses has selected us to be an outlet for their overstock merchandise," he said.

"So a set of mattresses that might cost about $2,000 retail, we can sell for about $500. That's really exciting for us to be able to do that."

 

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