Working as a first grade teacher, Lisa Jelenek noticed something about one of her students. The boy, walking to gym class, had ill-fitting shoes. When she asked the boy about it, he said his parents couldn’t afford shoes. And that’s when Lisa’s idea for opening the Clothesline in Laingsburg came to her.
The Clothesline has a simple mission statement: to provide high-quality, gently-used clothing to the community at a low cost and return all profits back to a charitable cause. “Ultimately our goal is to give back,” Lisa said. “We don’t earn a dime because all the money goes right back into the community.”
The Jeleneks bought two adjacent building spaces in 2004 for Clothesline. They wanted a location along I-69 and a city with good schools for their two children.
Although starting up the store was no easy feat — the entire building needed renovation — the Jeleneks received abundant help from the community. “The community really rallied for us,” Lisa said. “There were a lot of people supporting us whether it was helping with wiring or providing a free furnace or painting. We had lots and lots of people stepping forward because they were excited about this happening, and they were willing to help us. So that was very encouraging for us.”
Although renovation is not entirely done, the Clothesline provides a wide range of clothing, jewelry and accessories — all of which are donated. Staffing is entirely volunteer-based, and the store is open on Thursdays 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We’re very picky about what clothes come into our store to make sure they’re all in great condition,” Lisa said.
Taking over the two buildings in Laingsburg’s downtown strip also spared the community an eyesore. The space had previously been a storage unit. The Clothesline only inhabits one building, and so Tom is heading next-door’s project, the Connection, which is still in its early stages and will serve as a meeting place for youth organizations.
“It’s just another organization in town that we felt needed to be happening because we have a lot of youth in our town that have no place to go and nothing to do,” Lisa said.
For the Jeleneks, the entire reasoning behind their Clothesline store is about the community and assisting those in it.
“I would love to see the Clothesline completely finished and have it open more hours,” Lisa said. “I want to be able to give back lots and lots of clothes with all proceeds going back into charitable groups in our town. That’s my big dream.”
The Clothesline is located at 124 Grand River Road, Laingsburg. To find out more information, volunteer or donate contact (517) 256-1399
, (517) 651-5390
or visit www.laingsburgclothesline.com
Tags: clothes line, laingsburg, non-profit, profile