Fig Leaf Boutique in Mishawaka features ‘dignity’ to needy purchasers

Operators of Fig Leaf Boutique say that for the past a number of decades, they’ve…

Operators of Fig Leaf Boutique say that for the past a number of decades, they’ve retained things afloat on a “wing and a prayer.” 

Founded all around 2010, the regional non-financial gain retailer at 125 E. Mishawaka Ave. in Mishawaka has available outfits for these in need to have, quite a few of whom are referred to the boutique by case staff or clinics. Inside, prospects are able to store and select 10 clothing items for just about every human being in their domestic, all for totally free. 

“Our target is that men and women are able to shop listed here with dignity and with really like,” director Barb Schafer reported. “And that they feel like they are truly browsing.”

No questions are requested and no proof is desired for clients to shop all around for the free items, including infant onesies, children’s t-shirts, younger qualified blazers, plus-sized dresses, men’s shoes and far more, which are normally donated by other region outlets and teams such as Clothes Mentor, Plato’s Closet, The Christ Child Society and extra. The seasonal merchandise, which also can be donated by folks, are neatly structured within the modest creating by volunteers, who also acquire the time to make positive every item is to their common of high-quality. 

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“We have numerous people who, by term of mouth, give us beautiful things, and we satisfaction ourselves on that,” Schafer reported. “Each and every zipper is effective, the buttons are there, there are no stains, they’re in fashion, we debate and discuss items that we place out and question if it would do the job for our cliental.”

Volunteers are in a position to suggest and assist clients shop by the items and, once accomplished, rely to make guaranteed they acquire dwelling the suitable variety of things. Shoppers are then permitted to appear again and shop at the retailer three months later on. 

Fig Leaf operators say an normal of 430 merchandise leave the store each Thursday and estimate the boutique has served at the very least 1,500 people considering that 2012, some of whom are regulars and other folks who may possibly have frequented only as soon as. But while the non-revenue offers the company for absolutely free, they fret about the boutique’s upcoming. 

Fig Leaf has been part of the ministry of the 1st United Methodist Church in Mishawaka because 2018. Schafer reported the church monetarily contributes to the non-income on a quarterly basis, which helps include operating costs these kinds of as lease, utilities and insurance policies.

“But it can be not almost more than enough,” she stated. “It is really like a 3rd of what we truly have to have. … We know we’ll make it by December, but it is certainly iffy if we can continue in January.” 

Schafer, as effectively as treasurer Paula Laskowski and secretary Marcia Bloore, mentioned the boutique often hosts fundraiser events through the church, Hacienda Mexican Eating places and the Amazon Smile method. But the donations are usually little and can take a though to come to fruition. 

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“All of people small issues do include up and help us immensely,” Schafer reported. “And which is why we have been capable to stay open up. But we are in want of anything extra dependable.” 

Laskowski, who has been with the boutique since its inception with founder Diana Taylor, reported devoid of the boutique, people in want would possible get rid of their typical supply of outfits. Other assets, these kinds of as The Christ Child Society, require a referral and a unique money amount for their goods. Goodwill is generally way too pricey for individuals searching for a little something to just get them by. 

“People today are equipped to arrive in and get issues for nothing at all listed here,” Laskowski reported. “And they would reduce their clothing usually (if we ended up to close).” 

Fig Leaf Boutique is open Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and each individual next and fourth Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Donations are acknowledged Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

Contact Mary Shown at 574-235-6244 and mshown@gannett.com. Abide by her on Twitter: @maryshownSBT and @marketbasketSBT.

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