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Oddz & Endz Buys its Building in Grand Marais to Secure its Future

Just before the Labor Day weekend, the non-profit Oddz & Endz thrift store finalized the purchase of the building it has occupied for a decade at the west end of Grand Marais. After another thrift store in town lost its lease and struggled to find new space, the Board of Oddz & Endz wanted to ensure they would avoid facing a similar struggle. Now that it has secured its retail space, management can focus on continuing its mission.

The nonprofit bought the property from Bill and Jenelyn Copeland, its longtime landlords. According to Dale McIntire, a board member and Operations Manager, the purchase was financed by an anonymous philanthropist.

Janice Latz, Board of Directors chair of the non-profit, said,  “We are grateful to the Copelands for the many years of support and cooperation with Oddz & Endz. We are delighted to have the opportunity to purchase the property and secure our future.”

Oddz & Endz is a volunteer-driven community resale store dedicated to environmental preservation, economic accessibility, and community empathy. It receives donated household goods, including books and furniture, to help keep resellable and repurposed goods out of landfills.

On the website www.loc8nearme.com, the store wrote, “We resell these items at reasonable and reduced prices, making them accessible to anyone. At the end of the year, we distribute all “profits” above business expenses to local non-profits supported by our all-volunteer staff.”

McIntire reports that August 2023 sales almost doubled from August last year. The year 2023 looks to be a banner year. By the end of July, total YTD sales equaled all of 2022.

He attributes the strong growth to good management, dedicated volunteers, and increasing awareness of the value of used furniture and household goods in the buying community.

McIntire, who grew up in Columbus, GA, is the pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Grand Marais. This church called him in late 1995. Early in life, he worked in merchandising for retailer J. C. Penney, an invaluable experience that he brings to Oddz & Endz.

In addition to McIntire and Latz, the board includes Linda Noble, Treasurer; Pat Kruse, Board Member; and the inimitable Sharon Bloomquist, the founder of Oddz & Ends and Board Member Emeritus.

Donations of unwanted goods can be made at the store during regular business hours. It is open Monday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. One of the volunteers will inspect incoming goods to ensure they can be put on the shelves. If not, donors are directed to alternative places to drop off their items.

The Cook County Library Friends lost its storage facility a few years ago, losing the opportunity for future book sales. They set up a used book store in part of the Oddz and Endz building in March last year. Used books are received during business hours and sorted and curated by the Library Friends volunteers. Books sell for $2 for a paperback and $3 for a hardcover.

“When Beth Kennedy (owner of Birchbark Gallery in Grand Marais) retired, she donated her bookshelves to us,” McIntire said. “The shelves were perfect for us to set up the bookstore.”

Booklovers are sure to find something to add to their collections.

The building at 2066 West Highway 61 has its challenges. It has seen life as a bowling alley, restaurant, and the Howling Wolf, where locals would come together to eat, imbibe, and listen to music.

Oddz & Endz volunteers have worked to improve the building, making it wheelchair accessible.

The shop still operates with its mission to keep usable goods from ending up in landfills. This mission benefits local folks needing to find items for their household.

McIntire says they have provided furniture and goods for people and families in financial hardship.

More than 30 volunteers in 2022 invested more than 4,000 hours in this mission to the community. For their efforts, they earn credit for time served, allowing them to direct a percentage of store profits to local community organizations. The only criterion is it needs to be a group or non-profit that provides for people in Cook County.

In 2021, Oddz & Endz donated just over $40,000 to local nonprofit organizations. For last year, the distribution was more than $80,000, benefiting more than 35 local non-profits.

The purchase of the property on the western edge of Grand Marais is the first of several development phases envisioned by Board members and volunteers. Later stages may include expansion of donation processing and storage space, infrastructure maintenance, and customer access options.

For further information, contact by email oandegm@gmail.com  or call 218-370-0615. The store has a Facebook page at ODDZ & ENDZ.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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