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Shoe Stop Thrift Store owners Evelyn Brinson and Shonese Love started their store on faith. This store aims to do much more than sell affordable merchandise but to make difference. Through SSTS, they support many worth causes that affect many people in our communities.
A Local Business Making A Difference
On Crenshaw, nestled between W 76th St and W 77th St, is a quaint little thrift shop owned by two sisters, Evelyn Brinson and Shonese Love. Shoe Stop Thrift Store (SSTS) began with a simple yard sale that evolved into something more.
“My sister and I started out selling shoes,” said Brinson. “We had so many shoes.”
They were selling their shoes out of yard sales for ten dollars. It seemed like a lucrative business, so they began visiting thrift shops and buying more shoes. This would soon lead to more opportunities in the future.
Originally from Indianola, Mississippi, Brinson and Shonese were two of 16 children. Over the years, they have lost five of their siblings and their mother to cancer, which is part of the reason why they are using their shop to help others. One day at church, the sisters were presented with an opportunity.
“This young lady, her name is Wendy, spoke about Lupus, ” said Love. “She was telling us the story, she was sick for so long… she had to learn to walk again— really a precious story, it touched our hearts.”
An advocate for Lupus awareness, Wendy Rodgers is active in educating people about the disease and in sharing her story. Rodgers has been apart of numerous events such as the Annual Walk for Lupus and the ‘Could I have Lupus Ad Campaign.’ The sisters wanted to help out however they could and went into action.
“We started asking family and friends for donations, clothing, shoes, purses,” said Love. “Each garage sale, if we only made $50, whatever we made, we contributed, donated to the Lupus Foundation because we wanted to make a difference.”
Eventually the idea of owning their thrift shop would surface and they began looking for a building. Starting a business with no money is a deal-breaker for most but Brinson and Shonese were relying on something greater than themselves.
“I said to [Brinson] in January of this year that I felt God was going to touch someone’s heart and bless us to have a store,” said Love.
Brinson had her doubts with them not having the money to buy or even rent a space. Despite not having the start-up money, they occupied a space two months later.
“God is good,” said Love. “ The [Landlord] said if we could step out on faith like that then he had faith in us. He believed that it was going to work out.
“So he said once [we] start making money, then [we] could start paying rent.”
Shoes, shoes and shoes!! The local thrift store has a large arrangement of shoes ranging from casual to formal and in between. They also feature men and children’s shoes as well. They also sell handbags and accessories such as necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
You can also find a large assortment of clothes at the Shoe Stop Thrift Store. They have a large variety of clothes for men, women and children in the back part of the store. Many of these clothes have been donations from friends, families and other stores.
Established in March 2013, SSTS features a variety of shoes, clothing, apparel and jewelry—for a reasonable price. They offer something trendy, yet stylish for those who are looking to save some money for something nice in return. SSTS sells clothing for women, men and children and are willing to go the extra mile for those strapped for cash.
The sisters will be holding a fundraiser event on Saturday, June 15 from 10am-6:30pm. The proceeds from the event will go towards helping Rodgers accomplish her goal of going to Washington D.C. to speak about Lupus.
“[Wendy] is trying to get more funding for the Lupus Foundation,” said Love. “We’re having a fundraiser to help her to be able to do this.”
SSTS also recognizes and contributes to cancer, domestic violence and other causes. They are committed to helping out the community anyway they can through SSTS. They were blessed with a store and an opportunity and now they just want to pass the blessings on.
“We’re going to do [a fundraiser] every two months,” said Brinson. “Lupus is the first one and then we’ll do cancer, AIDS, [etc.]
“We’re donating the proceeds to different organizations.”
“People, they’re not aware, so we’re trying to make a difference,” said Love. “We’re trying to bring more awareness in our community.”
Shoe Stop Thrift Store is located at 7617 S. Crenshaw Blvd in Los Angeles, CA. For more information, please call (323) 758-8812.
All photos by Brian W. Carter