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Secondhand store opens today in Ogdensburg

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OGDENSBURG — The city’s new secondhand store is offering more than just gently used treasures.

It’s arming its employees with job skills in a tough economic climate.

In addition to offering dishes, blankets, sheets, pillows, furniture and other household items, the store, Another Step, 205 Ford St., will provide employees with hands-on vocational experience.

The store’s employees are members of Step-by-Step Inc., 211 Ford St. Members must be older than 18 and have a mental health diagnosis.

“We really see this as a stepping stone for our members,” said Executive Director David A. Bayne on Friday. “They can take the skills they learn here into the community and find employment. There are many opportunities for vocational development: cleaning, use of a cash register and customer service.”

The store employs three Step-by-Step members. But several other members have volunteered, marking prices, cleaning windows and moving furniture, Mr. Bayne said.

“It would be great if we made money, but that is not our goal,” he said. “As you see by the prices, we are more about offering a service to our members and a way to bring the community in to see what we are all about. We just hope to make enough to pay the rent and utilities.”

Step-by-Step workers got the idea after visiting Another’s Treasure in Saranac Lake with St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center officials.

“The Psychiatric Center was instrumental in the process,” Mr. Bayne said. “They encouraged us to look at it through a vocational point of view. They then helped us with advertising, and many employees have donated items. The Amvets also gave us space and stored and moved items.”

The store was also inspired by the help of Debbie Abel, a Step-by-Step employee who died from cancer this year.

“She was not replaced,” Mr. Bayne said. “Instead, her salary contributed to the opening of the store. She loved arts, crafts and antiques. It’s a way of honoring her memory.”

The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

For dropoff and pickup of donations, call 394-0597.

Step-by-Step will also hold an informational health fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday. The fair is open to the public.

“This is really about the community together, and finding out what health resources are available,” said Step-by-Step office assistant Skye M. Sharp.

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