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CHAP Thrift Store helps customers in more ways than one as inflation rises

General Manager Mitch Berndt said they've been a staple in the Burnsville community for more than 30 years.

BURNSVILLE, Minn. — As inflation continues to rise, thrift stores are seeing more customers.

The CHAP thrift store at the corner of the Towne & Country Shopping Center in Burnsville is no exception.

General Manager Mitch Berndt says they've been a staple in the community for over 30 years. 

Some customers like Rita Lundquist have been browsing the racks for nearly ten years, taking advantage of the deals and donating items.

"I like discounts. I love how organized it is," Lundquist said.

Thrift stores like this one have seen a big boom in business lately, especially as inflation hits a 40 year high. It's forcing many to think differently about how we shop for clothes, furniture, and food.

Luckily for shoppers at CHAP, they can get all three because it's not just a thrift store.

"We're also a food ministry," said Berndt.

Berndt adds that the number of people coming to use their food shelf has increased 70% since last year. 

"Anybody in Dakota County can come in once every two months and get some groceries. And then we also do a food line with the church across the street," he said.

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Caring, helping, and providing is not only on the sign; it's also who they are and who customers have come to love.

"Everyone who works here is just as sweet as they can be," said Lundquist.

"Everyone" who works here includes 12 staff members. The rest are all volunteers. 

"We come at least once a week, and we fold and price and put up [items]," said volunteer Cindi Grimm.

Some volunteers were even customers themselves at one point. 

"We used to shop here, and my wife just decided one day: This is neat. I'd like to come here more often. And so, we do. We come three days a week," said volunteer Lee Oestreich.

Whether donating time or goods, needs are getting met here, even when inflation is causing uncertainty right outside CHAP's doors.

"They can come to us when they're in need. I don't see that need going away in the foreseeable future," said Berndt

Berndt adds that they are always looking for donations and volunteers as demand at their store rises. If you'd like to help or check out the store, there's more information here.

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