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By Pam Reinig

Register Editor


Rachel Jaster realizes a personal goal today when Garments and Goods opens its Elkader store. 

“I’ve always thought Elkader would be a great place to increase opportunities for our clients,” said Jaster, employment services director at G&G Living Centers, owners of the Garments and Goods shop. “There’s a strong retail tradition here. And the place we’ve rented (at the corner of Main and Mulberry Streets) is ideal. We’re really looking forward to being here.”

Jaster will be at the shop on a regular basis; Kelly Tyer will be the store manager. Four G&G clients will work there one to two days a week each under staff supervision.

G&G Living Centers was founded in 1992 by a group of community leaders from Guttenberg and Garnavillo for the purpose of bringing back to Northeast Iowa disabled children of families living in the area, according to the group’s website. Now with locations in Guttenberg, Garnavillo and Edgewood, G&G serves nearly 100 clients. It’s three Garments & Goods stores—Guttenberg, Edgewood and now Elkader—provide “meaningful activity and employment opportunities for all individuals based on their personal strengths and goals.”

  Garments and Goods sells gently used clothing and small household items. The shop also sells decorative signs made by clients at other G&G facilities working under a different vocational service. The shop also carries handmade wreaths and smaller accessories like jewelry, purses and scarves purchased new from various vendors.

“We’re like Goodwill but we don’t accept or sell furniture or electronics,” Jaster said. “And our prices are very reasonable--$3 for adult clothing, $2 for kids’ clothes and 75 cents for infants’ clothes.” She added that all profits are used to pay the salaries of clients working in the store.

Garments and Goods accepts both seasonal and out-of-season donations during regular store hours, which are Mondays through Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. So if you’re spending summer weekends sorting winter clothes or holiday decorations, Garments and Goods will take them now. Their new locale comes with generous storage space.

While the quick turn-around from lease signing to grand opening has been stressful, Jaster is happy with the work that’s been done and looks forward to being part of the Elkader retail community.

“The difference we’re making in people’s lives with true community-based employment is incredible,” she said. “With this shop, we’re helping them work towards financial independence as well as learning skills they can carry forward into future work settings,”

The shop is located in the former NAPA Auto Parts building. Beth Rentschler, owner of Elkader Carpet and Design Center, purchased the building and renovated it into two tastefully decorated suites. Located in the other half will be Happiness Incarnate, which will carry fair trade and organic clothing, jewelry, leather bags, coffee and chocolate. A strong advocate of downtown retail, Rentschler said she is pleased to offer space to two businesses unlike any other in Elkader. 


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