Second Chance Boutique in Monroe was designed to help Turning Point, a domestic-violence shelter for women and children, with finances.
The store opened two years ago and is fulfilling that mission. It's also taken on an unexpected role as a safe place for women to talk about domestic violence.
"People will come in and talk to us because it's friendly and they don't feel intimidated," said Judi Abbott, director of store operations. Abbott said the office door often is closed at the boutique because staff members are talking with someone who came in about domestic violence issues.
The store has been so successful that Turning Point opened a second store in Waxhaw last week. The organization also is considering a third store next year.
"There are a lot of people out there who need our help," Abbott said.
While many victims may not be able to make a phone call for help, they may have the freedom to go shopping, Abbott said. Volunteers at Second Chance aren't trained counselors but direct customers who need help to Turning Point. Customers can use a phone at the store to call.
Second Chance is an upscale thrift boutique. Turning Point clients can shop for free; Abbott said that some flee domestic violence situations with only the clothes on their back.
The store supplies victims of domestic violence with everything from undergarments to silverware. One recent customer needed six beds for her six children; a truck arrived that afternoon with a double set of bunk beds, Abbott said.
"Things we take for granted, (victims of domestic violence) don't have," Abbott said.
Other customers can buy clothing and household items in the store. All proceeds go to Turning Point to offset decreased state and federal funding.
Both Second Chance boutiques accept donations of home décor, children's and adults' clothing and shoes, toys, microwaves, furniture and kitchen items. To volunteer or make a donation, call Dee Phillips at 704-288-1899.
Second Chance Boutique in Waxhaw is at 27292 Waxhaw Parkway, and the Monroe store is at 2447 Old Charlotte Highway. For information, visit www.secondchanceboutiqueuc.org.
A Matthews-based business coach recently received regional recognition.
The Entrepreneur's Source in Matthews was named the nation's Top Region at the FranchisESource Brands International conference. The Entrepreneur's Source, which provides career and franchise business coaching, was created to help entrepreneurs become self-sufficient.
Randy Mitchell owns the Matthews-based office of The Entrepreneur's Source.
Also at the conference, Mitchell's clients Todd and Susan Johnson received the Client of the Year award. The Johnsons bought The Cleaning Authority of Southwest Charlotte in February 2009 and now clean 3,800 houses each quarter and employ more than 40 people.
The couple took over the business after Todd Johnson was laid off from Wachovia in 2008. Mitchell helped them narrow down business opportunities.
"Susan and I weren't alone in this," Todd Johnson said. "Randy was with us every step of the way, offering us endless support and guidance to ensure we were making the right choice for our professional and personal goals."