Bargain Square Thrift Store, one of Adelante’s social enterprises that provides training and employment for people with disabilities, has had a lot of reasons to celebrate in recent months.
First, Bargain Square has been breaking sales records thanks to the hard work of the entire team, which includes over 30 people with disabilities who process thousands of donations a day. Sales in 2017 were up almost 13% over the previous year and 2018 is shaping up to be 9% above 2017. Bargain Square also set a new monthly record in October with a whopping $72,130 in sales. Bargain Square team consistently reaches its sales goals, and when they do, the whole group celebrates. Jessica Lucero, the store’s manager says the employees with disabilities always check to see if they are making their goals to make sure they get to have a sales party. Jessica says, “They all work really hard so they can achieve those goals. They take care of each other and are concerned about each other. It’s really a great place to work.”
Another highlight worth mentioning is Jessica Lucero’s promotion to manager of Bargain Square. Jessica began working for Adelante in 2010 as a direct support staff member in one of Adelante’s community living homes in Valencia County. “The opportunity just came up. One of the house managers that I had known outside of work asked me to apply. She thought I would be good for Adelante and I’ve never looked back.” Over the years Jessica did administrative work as a receptionist at Adelante’s Valencia County administrative building, supporting the mission in a different way. But Jessica missed working with clients. “I was missing the associates and being more in contact with them, so when Bargain Square opened, I took the chance and applied.” Jessica worked as an assistant manager in charge of donations at Bargain Square for a couple of years, then in early 2018, she got promoted to become the store’s manager.
When asked about any challenges the thrift store faced, Jessica described what ensued when in late 2016, the former Bargain Square Thrift Store in Belen was consolidated to operate solely in Los Lunas. Adelante made an effort to retain as many of the Belen jobs as possible by expanding the team in Los Lunas. “That was a little hard and I think a lot of people – clients, staff, and everyone – were affected,” said Jessica. “…But now, they’ve transitioned really well and it seems like everything is going really well now. It’s just great coming to work.”
Jessica’s future career goals include Adelante and Bargain Square. “I definitely see myself staying with Adelante because I do love my job. Right now, I’m just learning all I can about being the store manager and learning everything I can about our associates. I feel that this is not just a job, it’s my career.”
Your donations make the work at Bargain Square possible. In fact, it takes over 4,000 donations a day to keep the Bargain Square team busy and the store stocked. You can drop off donations at the store in Los Lunas, at the corner of Main and Los Lentes, or in Albuquerque at our main El Centro location, 3900 Osuna Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109. Donations of clothing, furniture, books, shoes, small electronics, and other household items are appreciated. If you have large items you’d like to donate, please call (505) 923-4250 to have them picked up.