Second Shelf offers a second chance for East Dayton community

The Second Shelf Thrift Store in East Dayton has become almost a second home for many in the community and its manager.

The store, which opened in the 1960s, is managed by Doug Morgan, Dayton resident and comedian. But there’s nothing funny about his dedication to the nonprofit at 2020 E. Third St.

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Morgan took over the store from the county in 2012 after working as a program assistant at the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities. He also worked at a group home during his nights.

“The county approached me about it. I didn’t really know anything about business. I was a little afraid,” Morgan said.

However, with help from all kinds of friends, local business leaders, donors and a staple of helpful comedians, Morgan has kept the store running for the past seven years.

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The beginning

The details are a little fuzzy, but Morgan says the store opened in the 1960s when a woman selling items out of her house in order to care for her disabled daughter ran out of room and needed a bigger space. The Second Shelf was born.

Over the years, Morgan has created relationships with local residents in the community through running the store.

“I’ve been here for seven years. I’ve seen people grow from babies into teens. They know me and help look out for the store. There’s bad people in any neighborhood, but there are some really good people in this neighborhood,” he said.

The store sells all kinds of items from furniture to clothes to board games. Donations are always pouring into the store.

Making a difference

Morgan has learned that there are some items Dayton residents need that most people might not think about.

Many items Morgan will give away include blankets, even ones that are tattered, socks and sample packets of shampoo and deodorant.

“Some people will donate items and tell us to just give them to people, so I do,” he said.

Morgan says he enjoys helping people and giving people jobs in some cases. He has had interns and volunteers work for him, as well as some homeless individuals in the community.

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One morning Morgan discovered a man sleeping in his dumpster. The man, feeling incredibly embarrassed, was a customer Morgan knew. In exchange for the man cleaning up the parking lot, Morgan let him take anything from the store he needed.

“He really appreciated it. Later, when he had a job, he came in and bought some things with his own money. He had his own place and everything,” he said.

And there are so many more stories like that from the store. So many that Morgan can’t tell all of them.

“Things like this happen a lot down here. I don’t share them all. Some stories need to be shared though. When you are in this position every day and are able to see people in these positions every day, you realize things aren’t ‘all about me,’” Morgan said.

How to get involved

While Morgan is chugging away at the store, help is always appreciated. He is possibly looking for a group of people to take over the store in the future. Morgan wants to see the store continue its tradition of helping people.

“I never plan on shutting it down. We won’t ever move the store. This place is a staple,” he said.

Since the store has been there since the 1960s, there are some major repairs that need to be done. Any donations or help would be appreciated. The roof needs some work, and Morgan himself has attempted to fix some things.

“I get up on the roof. Whatever needs done, I’ll do it,” he said.

Stores like this are a necessity in neighborhoods such as East Dayton. And Morgan is happy with everything he’s done, but more is better.

“I put a lot of my heart into this place. I would hate to ever leave. I’ve helped people get jobs here and helped the neighborhood. I am proud of everything, but you always wish it could be bigger,” he said.

Want to go?

What: Second Shelf Thrift Store

Where: 2020 E. Third St., Dayton

How to help: Donations are accepted and any volunteers, even just for an hour, would definitely help out.

More info: Facebook

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