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Meet Kevin Barbee of Clothes Less Traveled in Peachtree City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevin Barbee.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kevin. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Clothes Less Traveled was established in 1997 when co-founders MaryAnn Cox and Joan Velsmid discovered they needed a place to donate or sell the items that generous people who wanted to help the less fortunate in the community were dropping off at MaryAnn’s office at Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

The first thrift shop in Peachtree City, named by Janet McGregor Dunn “The Clothes Less Traveled”, opened its doors filled with donations and volunteers. The Thrift Shop began in a single storefront on Huddleston Road where it expanded three times but eventually a move to a larger location became necessary.

The move to the current Highway 74 location in 2006 allowed Clothes Less Traveled to continue to grow. Currently, the store is 25,000-square feet.

The mission of Clothes Less Traveled is to serve the needs of those in our community by operating a thrift shop where gently-used household goods and clothing can be re-sold at fair and reasonable prices. To provide an opportunity for volunteers to perform community service in a positive and productive way. Profits, after expenses, are paid and reserves met are distributed by mutual board decision as scholarships, vouchers and grants to qualified recipients and 501c3 organizations.

Clothes Less Traveled believes in giving back to the local community. One of the many ways is in the form of offering financial grant funding to local non-profit charities. Over the past 20 years, Clothes Less Traveled has provided over 6 million dollars in grant funding to our community.

High school students can apply for merit-based college scholarships to be awarded in the spring, Clothes Less Traveled has awarded college scholarships annually, since 1997.

Clothes Less Traveled’s voucher program provides clothing, household goods, basic furniture, etc. at no cost to needy individuals and families identified through specific partner organizations.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Clothes Less traveled began as an all-volunteer organization. Over the years, growth has required hiring employees to create more stability. Now the organization is functioning with both staff and volunteers. This creates its own set of challenges but has in fact over time created a sense of community. Also, the organization has recently transitioned from a working board to a true nonprofit governance board. While this transition was taking place the organization also hired its first Executive director. While a major step in the evolution of Clothes Less Traveled this too, has been a culture shift.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Clothes Less Traveled – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We are also known by a few (and hopefully more each day) of providing financial grants to nonprofit organizations in our community. Over the 20+ years of existence, the organization has provided over $6 million to local nonprofits. Unlike many others in the area, store donations of gently used items and revenues stay right here in the community.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Clothes Less Traveled is embarking on our first ever 3-year strategic plan. Our future goals are to increase awareness about Clothes Less Traveled and our impact on the community.

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Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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