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gift and thrift

We are working with Gift and Thrift in Harrisonburg, VA, to come up with a 25-year business plan addressing ways they can continue to serve the community. Our mission is to ‘Use our Gifted minds in Thrifty ways to build longevity in local businesses.’  We are interviewing, conducting research, and working directly with Gift and Thrift to come up with sustainable business practices they can use now and in the future.

Gift and Thrift is a local Harrisonburg thrift store, and their mission is to support the local and global relief, development, and peace projects of the Mennonite Central Committee, which governs the thrift store. We are researching and working on plans that fit within this mission statement. We were initially inspired by their efficient processing system, large-scale environmental efforts, and committed volunteers, and we want to build on some of these areas. Additionally, we are interested in increasing the use of social media, and appealing to local students.

We have been visiting Gift and Thrift regularly to learn more about the organization and its volunteers and employees. We have interviewed many people involved with the organization, including members of MCC, volunteers, employees, and customers of Gift and Thrift. We are also conducting external research on thrift shops to make sure our business plan is able to be successfully implemented.

meet the team

Robert Prescott

Robert Prescott

Sophomore, Accounting

“The team and I are working with a local thrift store, gift and thrift, to create a sustainable business plan for the next 25 plus years.”

Carly McDonald

Carly McDonald

Communications, Freshman

“I’m excited to see how a business like Gift and Thrift and can take the ideas that we have come up with to better advance their outreach and sustainability.”

Jenna Jansen

Jenna Jansen

Marketing, Sophomore

“I am planning on using my background in marketing to come up with ways Gift and Thrift can increase the number of customers from the local universities.”

Ben Uehlinger

Ben Uehlinger

International Business, Sophomore

“One of my main goals in completing this process is incorporating interpersonal skills and value proposition/design to create longevity in local businesses.”

the process


the impact

lbs of books recycled per year

current volunteers

final project


When we began working with Gift and Thrift, we were tasked with creating a plan for how Gift and Thrift will continue to serve the community in 25 years time without using more money or adding more paid employees. Booksavers is a shop that operates within Gift and Thrift, and they get so many donated books that they end up having to recycle two tons of them a year. To combat this, we created a Booksavers subscription box. Customers would fill out a survey on preferred genres and the shop will create a custom box for them monthly. The monthly cost for subscribers would only be around four to five dollars and customers would receive five hand-picked books each time. There would be no extra cost to Gift and Thrift, and it would be a recurring service, giving Gift and Thrift some guaranteed income moving forward so they can continue to operate and support the community for the next 25 years.

get involved