Volunteer Delaney Geist sorts through donated items at the Garage of Blessings in Oak Harbor, Thursday, May 18, 2017. The nonprofit thrift store will be moving to its sixth location in June. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Garage of Blessings lands new location

In less than two weeks, Kristiina Miller will get the keys to the new home of the Garage of Blessings.

Much has to be done before the unique second-hand store will open its doors to the public at its new location on Goldie Road in Oak Harbor in July.

But securing a lease was reason enough for Miller to breathe a sigh of relief.

“This has been quite the journey,” she said.

Miller, who founded the Garage of Blessings five years ago, had been looking for a new home for her store for more than a year. The search was prompted by the news that the lease at her present location would expire this summer and was not going to be renewed.

When Double R Rental &Sales closed its Oak Harbor outlet last year, creating a vacancy at 1751 North Goldie Road, Miller noticed.

After months of back-and-forth discussions with the business owner, they came to an agreement that she could lease the building on a month-to-month basis.

The space is more than 4,000 square feet, slightly larger than the present location.

“It feels like 10,000 square feet,” Miller said. “It’s complete open space — exactly what we’re looking for.”

The move isn’t without risk.

The month-to-month agreement means the owner can sell at any time should the right buyer come along.

The rent is $2,250 — more than four times higher than the cost of rent at the present location.

“I am just walking by faith that support is going to come,” Miller said.

The Garage of Blessings doesn’t charge for the thousands of donated second-hand items it receives each month from the community.

Instead, the nonprofit relies on donations from the community and proceeds from its massive annual parking lot sale fundraiser. Like-new or new items are sold at that event, which will take place 9 a.m.-3 p.m. June 3-4 at the store’s present location, also on Goldie Road.

“It covers several months’ rent,” Miller said.

The current location will be open for normal business hours through June 17.

More than 100 people have agreed to help with the move, including several commands from nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Miller said. First, some minor remodeling work will take place led by skilled volunteers.

The new location is divided into thirds with the Garage of Blessings only able to afford two-thirds of the space, Miller said.

A grand opening will be held at the new location 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 7.

This is the store’s fifth move since it opened in Miller’s garage in 2012.

She had hoped for a larger building in the range of 10,000 square feet, but likes the new site’s openness.

“I think it’s going to be good for us,” said Jason Miller, Kristiina’s husband. “It’s an open floor plan.”

“This has been a crazy emotional rollercoaster,” Kristiina Miller said. “I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown so much. My faith is stronger. It’s been an unbelievable journey. We’re not done yet though. Something tells me this isn’t even the biggest dream. There’s something bigger that’s coming. I have no clue what it is.”

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