Clothes Review ministry refashions into ‘New 2 You’

Categories: Around the Diocese

By Nikki Rajala
The Visitor

The Clothes Review in Little Falls, a gently used resale outlet located on the St. Francis Convent campus, is closing Dec. 12. It will become the New 2 You Thrift Store, under new ownership and at another location — 508 W. Broadway in Little Falls — to support The Boys and Girls Club of Morrison County.

Franciscan Sister Mary Blase Kulzer has been an integral part of the Clothes Review since 1996 and the director for the last 11 years of its 45-year history. “I wish the best to the Boys and Girls Club and the New 2 You Thrift Store,” Sister Mary Blase said. “This is what I was able to give with my life; we have done the best that we could. Now it’s a chance for others to give of themselves to those in need.

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Franciscan Sister Mary Blase Kulzer stands in front of the Clothes Review in Little Falls, where she been director for 11 years. Jeanie Michaels / Community Relations, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls

“We are transferring this ministry to the Boys and Girls Club because we need to face the facts. I’m not as young as I once was and we sisters are fewer in number. Throughout our history, we have ‘done what was ours to do,’ as St. Francis said, and then we place the ministry in capable hands and we move on where- God calls us.”

The Clothes Review started in 1969 in Belle Prairie, nurtured by the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, with many sisters working there over the years to provide used clothing at a low cost to the community. Sister Mary Blase recalled her invitation to this ministry by Sister Johnelle Becker and beginning at the Clothes Review in 1996, learning the operation from Sister Cordy Bloch. For 17 years, it’s been a big part of her life.

“My favorite part was working with our volunteers and our customers,” she said. “People were delighted with the clothing they had found or what we had helped them find. They’d say, ‘I found just what I needed.’ We could always help someone.” Those comments from patrons pointed up the value of their ministry of providing clothing and shoes locally and at a low cost.

Sister Mary Blase appreciated the volunteers and sisters who helped over the years, “a community of women who have given of themselves.” The New 2 You Thrift Store, a 7,000-square-foot shop, is scheduled to open in mid-December.

Phil Smith, who currently serves on the Boys and Girls Club Advisory Council, is heading up the new store project. “We are very excited about the store and the support the Franciscan Sisters are giving us,” Smith said. “We look forward to serving the community in much the same way they have over the years.

“Our hope is that the New 2 You store will create revenue for the Boys and Girls Club of Morrison County,” he said. “We look forward to offering a new shopping experience for the community and serving customers of the Clothes Review.

We’re also partnering with Habitat for Humanity to sell some of the items that have been donated to them.”

The Clothes Review, with its volunteers and its customers, holds a special place in Sister Mary Blase’s heart, she said. As for her future plans, she looks forward to some quiet time to discover what the Lord has in mind next for her.

“God called me to this work. I will miss everything about being at the Clothes Review, even looking out the window at the beauty of the gardens and barns. It was a privilege.”

The store is currently accepting donations at its new location (Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon and Tuesdays from 3 to 6 p.m.). To volunteer at the store, contact Judy at 320- 360-7017.