Common Goods Now Open in Crosslake!

It’s been quite exciting and busy around here at Bridges of Hope!  In case you haven’t heard, we are officially open for business at our new Common Goods location in Crosslake! We have amazing staff who are working hard to get the space fully up & running (we were able to get into the space just yesterday). We took our first donation (also yesterday), and I literally JUST received a call from our Retail Manager, Nate, stating we’ve made our first sale TODAY!FrontofStorewithtempbanner


As you can see in the picture, there’s still a lot of work to be done (painting among other things), so bear with us as we continue to transform the space into a unique, trendy thrift store. We are thrilled to be able to offer good quality items to the Crosslake area AND we are proud to say– all proceeds stay local and help fund the unique programming at Bridges of Hope!
CommonGoodsSupportsBoHHere are the details:

  • Store Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm & Sunday 12pm-5pm
  • Physical Address: 35562 Co Rd 66, Crosslake, MN
  • Phone #: 218-692-7682 (phones should be up & running by tomorrow)

So come on in, excuse the organized chaos, shop, and chat with one of our staff. We would love to share more with you about how donating, shopping & volunteering at Common Goods makes a difference in this community.



For more information on our donation guidelines & other general information; check out our recent blog post: Summer Donations at Common Goods and visit our website.

(And stay tuned–we’ll be sure to share more about our progress on our Facebook page!)




The Art of Upcycling

At Common Goods we are fortunate to receive a variety of unique furniture pieces from our generous donors. Some of these items can go directly to the sales floor. Other times, the pieces we receive need a little extra love and attention. At Common Goods, we call this process “upcycling“. It can be as simple as a new coat of paint, or it can be somewhat more complicated, requiring multiple steps which results in a complete transformation.

For those wanting to delve into upcycling, there is no doubt that the process can be a little overwhelming, especially if you have never attempted such a project on your own before. Below I’ve included steps & pictures of a project that we completed last year, to hopefully help put your mind at ease, and to give you a little encouraging nudge to try DIY…yourself!

First, you will need to pick the piece you wish to change. Here is the before picture of a great rocking chair that was in great need of upcycling:Chair (before)

Next, you enter the “idea phase,” which can be the most difficult part at times. Fortunately, there are several websites that can help if you find yourself with “creativity block.” (Pinterest, anyone…?) If you are at a total dead-end, just go to your favorite search engine and type in what you are trying to accomplish (i.e., “How to reupholster a chair”). You will probably receive more than enough great ideas for your project!

Finally: it’s time to execute your plan (and probably do a little shopping)! Our idea was to revive this piece by painting and reupholstering this rocking chair. The materials & tools that were used for this project included primer, paint, sandpaper, a staple gun and staples, screwdriver, scissors, and fabric.

Here are the steps we took:

  1. Wash or wipe down the chair to remove any old dust and dirt.
  2. Remove the seat (so it can be recovered).
  3. Apply primer to make sure the paint adheres to the chair.
  4. Once the primer is dry; paint the chair the color of your choice.
  5. After the paint is dry; lightly sandpaper the chair along the edges to give it a vintage distressed look.
  6. Finally, put the new fabric over the old seat and staple it to the underside.

And here is the finished project:

Chair (after)

Quite the transformation, right? The best part is that a project of this size can easily be accomplished in a single weekend….and of course if DIY just isn’t you, the good news is that there is almost always a new project in the works here at Common Goods, so you can shop upcycled, too! Good luck, and happy upcycling!

Get Involved with Common Goods:

  • Shop (you can always find a great “upcycled” piece like the one above).
  • Volunteer (check out volunteer opportunities on our website).
  • Donate (check out our donation guidelines).

Volunteers Make a Difference at Common Goods

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Washing Windows!

At Common Goods, we are thankful for the hundreds of volunteers who help out every year! Volunteers help us get extra projects done (see photos below), keep the store clean & neat and also raise awareness and bring donations in to Common Goods. Many of our volunteers are local youth who are excited to make a difference in this community. In the last few months, we have had the privilege of serving alongside awesome students from Pillager and Pequot Lakes Schools as well some some of our youth volunteers who are “regulars.”

Pillager 9th grade and Pequot Lakes 8th grade students are encouraged to volunteer in the community as a part of their curriculum. Also, the community-minded Pillager High School National Honor Society students and their adviser, Sue Turner, recently completed their spring community service project for Common Goods.  They called us to do some research about what kinds of donations are helpful and then created flyers for a school-wide donation collection. Next, they collected, sorted & delivered donations to Common Goods. They even rewarded their peers who donated – with root beer floats!

All of these students and the adults who support them are very involved in our community and at their schools. This service-oriented attitude will carry them far beyond their high school years.  We applaud the generosity and community-minded outlook of these students and the dedication of the caring adults who work with them. By working together, we strengthen our community and raise our children to reach out and serve.  Well done Pequot Lakes and Pillager Schools!

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Common Goods, call Suzanne at (218)824-0923.

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A Creative Project

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The final product!

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Steaming clothes

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Straightening up the Sales Floor

Earth Day 2012

On Earth Day many individuals and groups around the world plant trees, clean up parks and recreation areas, educate the Community on recycling and being Green, spread knowledge on water conservation and organic food. The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. Now nearly a billion people participate in Earth Day events in 192 different countries.

This year, Common Goods once again collaborated  with some of our other local thrift stores and giving ministries on April 14 for a community Earth Day celebration. Those wishing to donate their reusable items were able to come to one place to do so!

Part of the reason Common Goods was created was to do exactly that: to help the goods in our local community stay here–and be redistributed to others who could use them–instead of entering landfills. We also work to help educate our donors on the kinds of items that have lived beyond their useful life but can still be recycled (and how or where to do that).

We so appreciate our volunteers, donors and community partners for supporting this local initiative once again this year. Saturday was a beautiful day and a great opportunity to share our ongoing relationships with Habitat for Humanity and Salem West and our efforts to distribute the gentle used and new items that are generously donated by our community.  Several other groups either participated in the event or donated food or goods to make the day a success–our thanks goes out to them all! By working together we all make the Lakes Area a better place to live.


Learn more about the mission and volunteer opportunities at Common Goods.

Recycle Mania

Posted by Suzanne Welch, Common Goods General Manager.

Recycle Mania Logo

recycled televisions

Common Goods held its first two-day Recycle Mania event on Jan 6-7, 2012. We had a beautiful weekend, weather-wise (practically unheard of in Minnesota!), and community members recycled over 2,3oo pounds of electronics and corded items! We were excited to give donors a tangible way to get a jump-start on cleaning up and cleaning out their storage spaces in the new year.

Hughes Technology was an amazing partner. Elizabeth and her team of passionate recyclers will disassemble the items we collected and recycle their parts properly. We are thankful for the partnership we’ve built with Hughes Technology over the past couple years, which is what helped make and event like this possible.

Common Goods strives to be more than “just” a thrift store. We intentionally use our store as a platform for education to our customers, donors and the broader community on how, where, and what to donate–and when an item has survived past its useful life, how and where to properly put it to rest–very often by recycling it.

This year we plan to once again partner with Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore and Hughes Technology for a community-wide Earth Day event in April. Community members will be able to donate and recycle their items all at one place, at the ReStore. In November, we plan to team up with  Hughes Technology again for America Recycles Day. Mark your calendars now and watch Facebook (click to “like” our page) and our website for details!


Learn more about the mission and volunteer opportunities at Common Goods.

Who knew?

This month, Bridges of Bridges of Hope LogoHope is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Common Goods. Yes, it’s already been a year since Common Goods opened its doors!

For those who wonder if a social venture can really provide financial support to a nonprofit, I am excited to announce that, after just one year, Bridges of Hope will utilize $40,000 of proceeds from Common Goods to continue and enhance services offered to families in the Lakes Area. Who knew?

Common Goods provides a clean, fun and colorful destination for the conscientious shopper to save a few bucks, scoop up some great merchandise and “go green” at the same time. Stop by sometime for inspiration on how to re-purpose that old coffee table or make use of Grandma’s leftover sewing patterns.

Donations of quality, gently used furniture, house wares, clothing and other items are welcome at Common Goods Monday – Saturday from 8:30-5:30. Items are sorted, cleaned and sold on our sales floor. Some items may be redistributed to one of our many partners thereby serving more families and keeping perfectly useful goods out of local landfills. Common Goods is providing so much more than just revenue for Bridges of Hope.

Who knew? Maybe our generous funders and the many partners who helped Common Goods get off the ground. We’re so grateful to the Brainerd Area Community Foundation, Crow Wing Power Community Trust, Initiative Foundation and Otto Bremer Foundation for the start-up funding for Common Goods. There are too many friends and supporters to name; you know who you are!

Thank you for your support in this “new” adventure that I guess we can’t really call “new” anymore. Happy Anniversary Common Goods!