COTTAGE GROVE, ORE. — On Thursday, March 14, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County (SVdP) will open its new St. Vinnie’s store location at 910 Row River Road in Cottage Grove. With 15,485 square feet of retail space and 4,230 square feet for materials sorting and storage, this is the 14th and southernmost store in the St. Vinnie’s Oregon network. It is also the seventh store outside of Eugene-Springfield operated by SVdP.

Project-development costs for the store totaled about $4.8 million. So why did SVdP make such an investment in Cottage Grove? For one, opening a store there aligns with SVdP’s goal to bring vital human services and high-quality/low-cost materials to rural communities. The nonprofit also formerly operated a store there, in two separate locations between 1986 and 2000, and leaders have long prioritized an eventual return to “The Grove” when an ideally situated property such as this would make it possible to best serve the community.

New St. Vinnie's store under construction in cottage grove

“Adding opportunities within rural communities like Cottage Grove is an important part of what we do,” says SVdP Executive Director Bethany Cartledge. “Our new store here reflects our commitment to investing in this community through career opportunities, waste diversion and reuse, and affordable, quality merchandise made available through our retail operations.”

Why thrift stores?

Throughout the 70-year history of SVdP, every St. Vinnie’s store and donation site has grown into an important resource hub for local residents who use SVdP voucher programs to buy clothes and furniture, or who need access to quality items at below-market prices.

St. Vinnie’s stores also provide meaningful employment for communities; staff are paid fairly and have access to many benefits they may not find in other retail settings. Projections call for an ongoing staff of about 15 full-time employees at the new store.

This store marks St. Vinnie’s return to the Cottage Grove retail market after nearly 25 years away, but during that time SVdP expanded its affordable-housing efforts in the area. SVdP opened the 12-unit Omer Apartments in 1994 and the 21-unit Corey Commons in 2003 and completed an extensive rehabilitation of Saginaw Mobile Home Park in 2018 to preserve it as a crucial source of affordable rural housing in the region.

“I am proud of St. Vincent de Paul’s long history of preserving and building affordable housing in rural Lane County, including Cottage Grove,” Cartledge says. “And I am so excited that we can expand the scope of what we offer in South Lane County through this beautiful new store.”

Cottage Grove store sale

St. Vinnie’s invites community members to celebrate the March 14 debut of its Cottage Grove retail-thrift store, beginning with grand-opening remarks and a ribbon cutting shortly before doors open at 10 a.m. Speakers will include SVdP Executive Director Bethany Cartledge and Cottage Grove Mayor Candace Solesbee.

Visitors can sign up for free hourly raffle drawings during the store’s grand opening, with prizes to include gift cards to St. Vinnie’s and other local businesses. Then, near the 6 p.m. close of business on Sunday, March 17, a grand-prize winner will be selected to receive a $500 St. Vinnie’s gift card. Winners need not be present for the grand-prize drawing but do need to be in-store to claim the hourly door prizes when raffle-ticket numbers are called.

St. Vinnie’s also will welcome Cottage Grove shoppers with a four-day half-price sale on all clothing, books and new Zinus furniture and beds (just assembled or still in the box). Like the periodic 50-percent-off sales that happen across all St. Vinnie’s locations, this sale will happen only at the Cottage Grove store from 10 a.m. Thursday, March 14, to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 17

Cottage Grove Store

Cottage Grove Store Complete