Assistance League of Wichita to reopen resale shop in new space Tuesday

Steven Hernandez, with Bauer and Son Construction, puts the finishing coat of paint on the door at 2431 E. Douglas, the new home of the Assistance League shop.

WICHITA — Almost a decade after starting a search for a new building, the Assistance League of Wichita is opening in new space Tuesday.

“It is looking so great,” says the League’s Helene Longhofer of the new building at 2431 E. Douglas, just down from Douglas and Grove. She says the shop “has a real boutique look.”

The building, which the Assistance League owns, used to be home to Paradise Antiques. The Assistance League used to be in rented space down the street at 2611 E. Douglas.

As Have You Heard? reported in October, the new space’s 6,000 square feet is more than double the size of the old store.

The resale shop sells an array of things including clothing, jewelry and household items.

The 28-year-old League is a chapter of the nonprofit national Assistance League. The local League provides assistance to Wichitans with programs such as Operation School Bell, which provides children with new clothes for school. The League also gives scholarships to the Wichita Area Technical College and Butler Community College.

The resale shop, which is run by volunteers, raises money for the League’s projects.

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Assistance League of Wichita buys former Paradise Antiques space for its thrift store

WICHITA — After looking for new space for the better part of a decade, the Assistance League of Wichita has found it.

The League is more than doubling its resale shop space by moving to 6,000 square feet near Douglas and Grove where Paradise Antiques used to be.

“We have been in our rented building right next to Moler’s Camera shop for 21 years,” says the League’s Helene Longhofer.

That’s at 2611 E. Douglas, just down from where the new shop will be.

The upside of taking so long to find new space is that the League has been able to save to buy the building.

“We’re hoping we can get it paid for in three years,” Longhofer says.

The 28-year-old League is a chapter of the nonprofit national Assistance League.

The local League provides assistance to Wichitans with programs such as Operation School Bell, which provides children with new clothes for school. In the past two years, the program has supplied clothing to more than 4,000 students each year.

The League also gives scholarships to the Wichita Area Technical College and Butler Community College.

The resale shop raises money for the League’s projects.

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‘Ah-ha moment’ leads to a new career for Helen Thomas

WICHITA — Count Helen Thomas as another laid-off worker who is using the opportunity to follow her dream. Except in her case, she didn’t know her dream could be her job.

Thomas is best known as the longtime marketing director for Wesley Medical Center. She then became marketing director for Wichita Area Technical College, where she was laid off more than a year ago.

“While looking for a job, I decided I was going to make a quilt for our bed,” Thomas says.

That led to an epiphany.

“I should stop looking for a job and employ myself doing this,” she thought.

So she’s opening Tallgrass Quiltworks at 629 Walnut in Augusta.

“I’ve always been crazy about quilts,” Thomas says. “It’s like I had this ah-ha moment. I was like, whoa, wait a minute. I should be doing this.”

She’s been working on opening for about nine months.

“I did the usual things that small-business people are supposed to do and don’t always do,” Thomas says. She met with a small-business advisor, she did a cash-flow analysis, investigated her competition “and decided that I actually could make it work.”

Thomas will do longarm quilting. Her machine is supposed to arrive next week, and she’ll be in business in about a month.

She’ll offer a range of services including repairs and commissions. Thomas also will finish quilts for customers and teach beginning quilting classes.

“This is a way to be able to do what I love and actually have an income as well.”

You don’t say

“What do I know? I’m just a dumb plumber.”

— A saying on seven sweatshirts (one for every day of the week) Diane Frederick had made for her husband, Ray Frederick of Frederick Plumbing & Heating, to wear to his new job as interim president of the Wichita Area Technical College