Jill Stenberg Speaks at TREK
In 2016, Jill Stenberg drove by the building on the corner of Labree and Third Street and saw the place where she used to buy Hash Jeans as a teen. The building had blue Styrofoam in the windows and was a shell of its former glory.
“I said to myself, this is ridiculous. I was frustrated seeing the building just sit like that. But you know what they say, ‘if you want something done, you have to do it yourself,’ and that’s what I did.”
She bought the building in 2017 and with that decision, began the process of bringing the building back to life and creating the business that has come to be known as “Old Bostwicks.”
When the Humane Society heard she had purchased the building, they approached her about forming a unique partnership. Through the partnership Jill established with the Humane Society, people donated items to the store, volunteers staffed the store, and in return, the Humane Society received a percentage of the revenue.
“The partnership with the Humane Society continued for about five years until they decided they were going to open their branched out on their own,” Jill said. “Now we’re partnering with Elevate, which is an equally great organization.”
“I love giving back to this community,” Jill added.
Initially, the store’s business model was somewhat like that of an antique store. Donated items were priced similarly to what you would expect in an antique store and items were priced according to their value. The store setup and displays resembled that of a boutique, not a second-hand store.
Fast forward to 2023
Fast forward to 2023 and Jill found that the volume of donations were coming so fast that she had to lower her prices. Fast turnaround and rock bottom prices are central to the new model. Volunteer staff from Elevate still work hard to keep things neat and displays attractive.
Jill is working toward renovation of the entire store, which is comprised of 30,000 square feet if you include the basement. This last year has seen the entire first floor opened up, as well as the second story. New, energy-efficient windows and doors have been installed throughout.
Fast changing inventory has created regular shoppers. “We have people that come in here six days a week because they’re afraid they’re going to miss something,” Jill said.
“I’ve met some wonderful people and have great relationships with our customers that come in every day. It’s just been a great adventure.”
Jill Stenberg presents a check for $5,898 to Elevate Youth Center.