Opened on May 18, 2011, by mother-and-daughter owners Donna Hamann of Bradley and Paula Birr of Kankakee, Bargains & Treasures thrift store is back in their possession.
Actually, the business, which had been operated by Fortitude Community Outreach for the past two years, is being returned to not just Hamann and Birr, but two other women who have joined them in the ownership and operation of the location.
Karen Drake and Marissa Rapier, both of Kankakee, have joined with Birr and Hamann to operate the business at 396 N. Kennedy Drive in Bradley.
Fortitude no longer could devote its energies to this business so it was first offered back to Birr and Hamann, and they decided they wanted to once again run the location.
The site was, of course, the former home of The Exploration Station ... a Children’s Museum before it relocated several years ago to its new home at the Perry Farm property operated by the Bourbonnais Township Park District.
Birr explained she and Hamann stopped operating the store and donated it to Fortitude in May 2019.
“We just couldn’t keep up with the store anymore,” she said of that decision. “But we put in the agreement that if they ever reached the point where they couldn’t run the business, we had the first opportunity to take it back.”
That is, of course, what has happened. In February 2021, Fortitude made a decision is moving away from this business. The first call they made was to Birr. She said they were ready to jump back in.
She knew that more help would be needed, especially considering Hamann is dealing with issues associated with cancer.
That is when Drake and Rapier stepped up and committed to become part of the ownership group.
The ladies opened their newest version of Bargains & Treasures on May 15, nearly 10 years to the day they first opened the location.
The location features used furniture, housewares, seasonal decor and home decor, jewelry, signs, and many other items.
Having been on the sidelines for the past two years, Birr said the business, which she describes as a “unique resale and consignment shop,” will be operated by this group for years to come.
The location is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
“It was really hard to get away from this. ... It feels good to be back,” Birr said. “We see so many familiar customer faces. We’re hoping this is long term. It’s our hope that people ‘shop small’ and help keep us open.
“As long as we are supported, we will stay open.”