Since moving to South Industrial after the fire, "we've tripled the amount of space and tripled or quadrupled our sales," Fritsch says. "The space is better organized, and the location is perfect. And we've been very lucky with managers and staff."
They've been especially lucky with their executive director. "Ann Farnham started out as a volunteer," recalls Fritsch. "Then she became a board member. Then she became executive director. Ann has really done a phenomenal job and took it to the next level."
When Farnham joined the board in 2010, she recalls, "only sixteen out of thirty-three schools were involved with the shop, and I got all the schools signed on in two years." That raised awareness of the shop throughout the district-and helped many less-affluent schools raise money for enrichment activities. Since all the stock and most of the equipment are donated, nearly all the shop's profits go to the schools. Buoyed by the shop's continued success, last fall the board extended its lease for another ten years.