Connecting Communities | May 2022
Marillac St. Vincent Family Services is pleased to welcome Geoffrey Martinez as its new store manager for the Nearly New Thrift Store. Located in Lincoln Park, the store has been in operation for over 60 years, offering stylish clothing and great deals for the local community. All the proceeds directly benefit Marillac St. Vincent Community Outreach Services including the Food Pantries. In this role, Geoffrey will continue building awareness of the thrift store and work to develop new ways to connect with the Lincoln Park Community.
We sat down for a virtual Q&A session to learn more about his background and enthusiasm for his new role at MSV.
What attracted you to the mission and culture of Marillac St. Vincent?
Community and philanthropy have been a part of my life since I was young. Growing up, my mom was the Honorary Consulate General of the Philippines in New Orleans. One of her main roles was to host different cultural events to connect with the local community and all the proceeds went to the Philippines to support education, work, food and medicine for its people. This idea of philanthropy, using your time and resources to help the communities you belong to is a strong passion of mine. I deeply connect with the mission and spirit of Marillac St. Vincent and am excited to be a part of a team doing such great work.
Please tell us a little about your skill set and background and what gets you excited about working with Marillac St. Vincent.
In addition to my philanthropic background, I worked for over 15 years in high end retail. I have expertise in interior design and love creating beautiful and engaging spaces to offer a quality customer experience. I can’t wait to bring this into my work with the Nearly New Thrift Store; it combines my interest of retail, community building and doing good for those in need.
At the Nearly New Thrift Store, we cater to everyone in the neighborhood who is looking to get a good deal on “nearly new” clothing and household items while giving back to the local community. All proceeds directly support our Community Outreach Services, including the food pantry right next door! DePaul Students have been big contributors, which is great since MSV has such a strong connection with the University. We also have a kind and caring team of essential volunteers who help support the store, some who have been with us for over 10 years.
Imagine one year from today, is there an impact or contribution that you would be most proud to have achieved with MSV?
The Store has done a lot of great work over the years, my goal is to continue building on that. I want to grow our connection with the Lincoln Park community by increasing the awareness of our store and its mission, as well as partnering with local retail brands for donations and the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce to collaborate on events. Another goal is to elevate our selection and store layout to provide our customers with even higher quality goods and in-store experience. There are a lot of great retailers in the area, and I believe there is potential to work with these companies to receive donations, provide discounts for their members and collaborate on events. Our new Chief Development Officer, Veronica Brown, will be very helpful with these partnerships.
What is the biggest challenge you imagine with your new role at MSV?
I always try to look through the lens of improvement. As I mentioned, one of the most important things is to increase awareness of our store and bring in more customers. I also want to start offering more furniture which will require a little reorganization. All donated items are dropped off directly at our store so finding efficient use of our space to maintain a positive experience for everyone who walks in our door is a fun challenge for me.
As you settle into your role, what would you say to someone considering working or volunteering for MSV?
We have a good team; people always have a smile on their face and love helping others. I enjoy hearing the amazing the stories of our staff and people in our community. It is a great place for like-minded individuals who believe in the power of philanthropy and supporting local community. I am thrilled to be a part of this team and can’t wait to see how we grow over the next year!
Learn more about ways to donate, volunteer or work at MSV.