A retired retail executive and Sacred Heart University professor is helping The Kennedy Center launch a new kind of retail destination and social enterprise in Connecticut.
The Kennedy Center welcomed Fairfield resident Nick Douglas in July as manager of The Kennedy Center’s community store, currently operating at The New and Nearly New Thrift Shop at 2323 Barnum Avenue in Stratford.
Douglas, who has 45 years of experience with companies including Orvis and Syms Department Store, is a professor of mathematics and management and fashion and retailing at Sacred Heart University.
“I have been involved with agencies like The Kennedy Center since 1980’s from a Human Resources perspective,” Douglas said. “I’ve always admired The Kennedy Center and the incredible abilities of the folks I’ve worked with. I knew if the opportunity came along to use my experience to give back, I would do it.”
The Kennedy Center, providing opportunities for employment to individuals with disabilities, took over ownership of The New and Nearly New Thrift Shop in June. The store was formerly run by dedicated volunteers of The Kennedy Center Auxiliary, which donated all store proceeds to The Kennedy Center’s programs.
“What The Kennedy Center Auxiliary so selflessly created and ran for many years will now provide greater employment and training opportunities for individuals of all abilities,” said President and CEO Rick Sebastian. “Hiring someone with Nick’s experience and passion is an important building block for this new double bottom-line business.”
Douglas will be leading the store through a brand change and a move to a larger location in the near future. The expanded store will include an arts-centered cafe, featuring artwork created through The Kennedy Center’s expressive arts programming.
In the meantime, the Stratford shop remains open to customers and accepting donations.
“I think the possibilities here are limitless,” said Douglas. “This is something I am truly excited about and I’m grateful my experience can help.”
Store hours are Monday-Friday 10:30-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10-3. The store will be launching an e-commerce site in the coming months, where customers can shop exclusive inventory online.
Donations of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, accessories and housewares are currently being accepted for the thrift shop. Donations can be dropped off at 2323 Barnum Avenue during business hours or at The Kennedy Center, 39 Lindeman Drive in Trumbull, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
With questions or media inquires, please contact Kate Czaplinski, Director of Communications at 203-365-8522 Ext. 2015 or Email.