PRATT — The Store Next Door, a thrift store at 311 South Main in Pratt, has new hours — open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., according to manager Patty Fox.

“We want to be sure we have new items out every weekend to give shoppers something to look forward to,” Fox said.

Thursdays will be a workday for volunteers, including area students, to pull items that have been displayed for more than three months and update the racks and displays with newly donated items.

With more than 2,200 square feet of upstairs display space and another 1,100 square feet downstairs, The Store Next Door gives shoppers a lot of choices, from clothes and shoes, appliances and kitchen tools and dishes, to home décor and furniture. Currently, there are lots of Halloween-themed items.

The Store Next Door is also a safe place for youth to learn how a business works and to develop job skills that will benefit them in the future. The teens and pre-teens are an integral part of the Store Next Door activities.

“We’re a business raising funds for a ministry, while also teaching job skills to youth who volunteer,” Fox said. “These kids are gaining some tremendous job skills."

Those job skills include sorting donations, pricing them, creating attractive displays and rotatiing merchandise.

Until a recruitment meeting in August enlisted close to a dozen adult volunteers, Fox said she and an enthusiastic group of teens and pre-teens handled the bulk of sorting donating items and putting them on display.

Now, about a dozen adult volunteers actively involved, helping with sorting, displaying and ringing up sales.

“I’m so grateful for the new volunteers and hoping for more,” Fox said. “And the kids still come and help, too, and that’s great for them and us.”

“Paul (Hayes) does a lot of running around for us,” Fox said. “Things that don’t sell here, we donate to charities in Wichita who are grateful to get them and Paul helps handle that, among other things he does to help out.”

Fox has been manager of The Store Next Door since Youth Core Ministries with Pratt headquarters at the adjacent Barron Theatre purchased the enterprise from South Wind Hospice Inc., last February. She said she has hopes to open the store more days in the future as the volunteer base expands.