arc Warehouse and Recycling Program

Brian Tasler

April 22 is Earth Day. While the arc team LOVES this special day, the truth is that we celebrate our Earth EVERY day!!

Arc Thrift stores receive many donations each day. A lot of these donations are sold in stores, but a certain amount of them do not sell after five weeks, and go to the warehouse to be recycled. One of arc’s main missions is to keep donations out of landfills and to recycle unwanted materials in the proper manner. A lot of items that reach the warehouse to be recycled still have the chance to be of use to someone else. That is why we send a lot of the donations overseas to countries that make great use of these unwanted items.

When items leave a store after their time is up, they are bundled and brought to the warehouse. Clothing is one of the biggest items recycled, totaling around 1.1 million pounds of recycled and repurposed clothing each week. These clothes are sent to many different countries such as Pakistan, India, and China. Even if the clothes are not re-worn, they are broken down into textiles and repurposed, staying out of the landfills.

Many other items come into the warehouse such as shoes, belts, purses, stuffed animals, kitchenware, electronics, books, and more. All of these items are recycled and re-used by someone else, making sure your donations are getting used to their fullest potential.

Brian Tasler is the warehouse manager who oversees all of the complicated operations on the recycling side. Brian has been with arc for about two years, but he has worked for nonprofit organizations for ten years. Each day Brian coordinates with operations to properly execute the recycling of materials, and helps to load the truck with his team. One of Brian’s main jobs is also to go to stores and educate the employees on the proper recycling steps to make sure everyone across the company is on the same page.

Many nonprofits come to the warehouse as well to repurpose these items for their own nonprofits. People like Jim White, who takes the books about to be recycled and finds them new homes by giving them to children in need. Another nonprofit comes to take unwanted stuffed animals and re-gifts them.

Every step in the recycling process is aimed to reduce the amount of garbage in landfills and put these things to better use. About 28 million pounds are recycled by arc each year. Arc can find a home or new use for it all, and almost nothing goes to waste.

Even though your items may have overstayed their welcome in your home, it doesn’t mean they belong in the trash. That pot, lamp, shirt, pair of shoes, or book could be exactly what someone in another country needs. Arc makes sure your “trash” becomes something much more important, that doesn’t hurt our planet.

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Jim White Food Bank of the Rockies Side

Guest Blog by Caroline Fregeau

After learning about Jim’s project with arc, I wanted to know more about what happens with these books after they get to Food Bank of the Rockies. I followed Jim, and his project partner Reagan Giffels, to the Food Bank of the Rockies.

The Food Bank of the Rockies is one of the biggest centers providing food to people across Colorado. Every week they send out their “Totes of Hope” to schools and locations that are in need of providing people with food for the weekend. They send about 5,000 backpacks a week to rural areas in need.

Jim has brought so many books to the Food Bank that they have supplied locations with enough books to no longer need a weekly demand, and Food Bank of the Rockies has started sending out books only once a month with the totes.

 The totes come to the Food Bank in boxes provided by Jim, where they are then more properly packed into sealed boxes with the help of Cherry Creek Transitions. The boxes average about 50 books for each box, and for every 50 totes, one box is added to the delivery. Then once the books finally reach their destination, with totes alongside them, the sites package up the books and food to go home with students.

Below is an example of a month’s worth of books delivered to the Food Bank of the Rockies. You can see some of the more chaotically packaged books, to the properly sealed and organized boxes in the top right corner.

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arcs and crafts: Floor-to-Ceiling Garland

In order to cover up a pegboard wall and make it a bit prettier, I hit my favorite home décor store: arc Thrift. I looked through the selection of curtains and fabric, but ended up settling on some vintage sheets to help me make my floor-to-ceiling garland of fabric strips. I found some great prints of all sizes that were only a few dollars each. I bought five different patterns total for my project.

I started by cutting my sheets into sections. I cut about 1.5-2” apart, just snipping the top of the sheets.

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With my sections marked, I was able to begin the fun part: ripping them into shreds! I ripped from the top of the sheet to the bottom and then attempted to pull off any hanging threads from the strip.

I ripped one entire sheet into strips…

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and then another…and another…until I had a giant pile of different patterned fabric strips.

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Once I had a huge pile, I selected one strip to be my main piece of “string” that would go across the top of the garland and would have all of the other strips tied to it.Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 8.07.56 AM

Then the knot tying began!

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And just like the ripping, I tied knot after knot after knot until the garland was full and the row of knots along the top piece were one next to the other with no space in between.

I made sure to space out the different colors and patters to get a variety as it filled up.

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It turned out so colorful and full, and covers up the pegboard beautifully.

The best part, besides the appearance, is that the pegboard is still usable. Because the fabric is in strips it’s very easy to hang things from hooks on the pegboard and have them show through and in front of the fabric.

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The project cost around $15 and turned out beautifully. Just a typical project from arc 🙂

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Finding Formal for Less at the Thrift Store

Although winter has felt never-ending this year, the promise of spring is right around the corner! Spring is known for being a season both of new life and of events galore. From spring weddings to graduations to new jobs, formal wear makes all kinds of appearances in the spring season. Some of my favorite formal finds are from arc Thrift Stores, and I want to share with you the best ways to shop formal on a budget!

Whether you’re looking for the perfect outfit for an outdoor wedding or want to feel extra confident before that job interview next week, arc is an awesome place to find amazing pieces for less. When looking for formal wear, focus on finding classic pieces with a unique flair that fit your personal style. It’s super easy to get overwhelmed with all the options at the thrift store, so focus on finding one or two staple pieces and build off those.

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Patterned Pants and a sleek button-up have made this outfit my interview go to!

When I was granted the opportunity to take part in a prestigious internship this past summer, I knew my wardrobe was going to need a serious business professional overhaul. I needed to find pieces that were classic and sophisticated, but I didn’t want to look too stiff or unnatural. A great way to spice up your workplace outfits is to incorporate fun patterns or textures. When choosing a statement piece (like patterned pants or a brightly colored sweater), let that be the focus of the outfit and keep other elements neutral in color/pattern. When looking for pieces at the thrift store, focus on searching for colors or patterns that you love, and look in the button up, blazer, and blouse sections to stay dress code appropriate.

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The unique cutout drew me to this dress and it has been a staple in my closet ever since!



One of my favorite things to thrift for are dresses, and that comes in especially handy in the spring and summer when it seems like just about everyone is getting married. The “wedding guest” dress can be an elusive hunt but finding the perfect piece can mean finding a staple dress for seasons to come. When looking for a semi-formal to formal dress, the element of timelessness is essential. A piece that looks sophisticated and beautiful without being easily dated is ideal and will last you years to come. At the thrift store, start by deciding what length and style dress you want before choosing a style or pattern, and don’t be afraid to try something new or step out of your comfort zone.

The spring is all about new beginnings and exciting changes, so don’t be afraid to let that reflect in your wardrobe! And know that wherever those changes take you, arc Thrift is a great place to explore and define your style 😉

Happy Thrifting,


Instagram: @emily_karbach

Jim White and Arc Thrift: “Books and Bites” Program

Jim White worked at Volunteers of America for over 30 years. But, when he decided to retire that didn’t mean that he was ready to stop helping others. He decided that his retirement would have a purpose. During his time working at Volunteers of America, Jim had always loved working with arc Thrift stores and with Food Bank of the Rockies. He decided to go out on his own and do some good with the help of these two nonprofits. That is when he created his own nonprofit project, “Books and Bites,” a literacy project of arc Thrift and Food Bank of the Rockies.

Arc Thrift receives a lot of book donations but not all of them get sold. Books that go unsold go to the warehouse to be recycled properly after their time on the shelf. Jim noticed a number of high-quality books that were about to be recycled, and decided they could serve a better purpose.

One of the programs run by Food Bank of the Rockies is called “Totes of Hope.” This program gives low-income children backpacks with a meal for themselves for the day, and a meal to feed their family over the weekend. Three to four thousand of these totes go out to families in need every week.

Jim decided arc’s books would find a perfect home in the hands of children receiving a Tote of Hope. He started sifting through some of the books in arc’s warehouse and found many children’s books and chapter books. He took boxes of them to Food Bank of the Rockies and placed them into the backpacks so that these children were sent home with a new book. Food Bank of the Rockies brings these backpacks to 53 different schools around Colorado, 50 of which are elementary schools and three of which are middle schools. Some of the teachers will come to pick up the Totes of Hope and place specific books with their students to make sure they fit the correct personality and reading skill.

Jim begins his process at the arc warehouse where he picks through big barrels of books about to be recycled and finds high-quality books at the reading levels for elementary and middle school kids. Sometimes Jim finds bibles and religious books that he brings to meal sites hosted by Volunteers of America for bible study groups.

Jim only started this program on Valentine’s Day of 2018, and in just over a year he has given away 36,512 books. Some days there are so many books to bring to Food Bank of the Rockies, Jim calls in friends to help him bring the donations. Once he finds the best books to donate, he brings them to the Food Bank of the Rockies where the next step of his process begins.

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Ambassador Spotlight: Lisa, Jodie, and the Valentine’s Day Dance

One of the special parts about being an arc Ambassador is not only the work, but the events as well. Arc hosts many different special events that are designed to give the Ambassadors a fun environment to hang out with their friends and coworkers. The annual Valentine’s Day dance, where ambassadors, their families, and their buddies come to celebrate cupid’s holiday, is one such festive affair.

Everyone gets a beautiful rose corsage or boutonnière, and dances the day away with friends. There were several special activities during the dance as well, like a caricaturist, face painter, photo booth, raffle, and professional ballroom dancers.

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Many of the Ambassadors patiently waited to hear their numbers called during the raffle to win a stuffed animal and special card. Only a few could win, but everyone enjoyed the fun competition. At the end of the dance, a few prizes were left over, and the Ambassadors tried to win them by showing off their best dance moves for the DJ, trying to win his dance-off.

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One of the winners was Jodie who decided to give her mom the prize in spirit of the loving holiday. Jodie was beyond excited to be at the Valentine’s Day dance and receive a prize from Lloyd Lewis, the president and CEO of arc Thrift Stores.

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Another of our Ambassadors, Lisa (pictured on the left, in the purple coat), loves coming to the Valentine’s Day dance, and has never missed a single one. Her favorite thing about the dance is that she gets to see all her friends at once. Lisa is a big time crafter. She loves crafting so much that she has decided that it is time to dedicate a table at home to all of her projects. The Day of Love was especially inspirational for Lisa; she made handmade cards for her family as special gifts for Valentine’s Day, and she is remodeling a table with little red hearts and roses all over it. When she’s not creating beautiful crafts, she is making sure all of the arc vouchers are being sorted perfectly. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day Lisa wanted to let everyone know that they are a “blessing to have, and always will be.”

Local Company Helps Others Find Inner and Outer Beauty

Hana Designs is a studio in Littleton, Colorado where people come for all reasons to get a wig personally cut and styled from Hana herself. Hana works with people suffering from chronic hair loss from chemotherapy cancer treatments, alopecia, trichotillomania, and for many other reasons.

Hana began working in the hair care industry in 1978 and never imagined it would take her to where she is today. She worked styling, cutting, and wigs for years before ever taking the step toward styling wigs for hair loss treatments as a full time business.

Before Hana ever began Hana Designs, a social worker had asked her to come to Children’s Hospital to see a patient. Not knowing what she was in for, Hana met a 9-year-old suffering from liver cancer, who was wearing a wig to cover her hair loss. Hana immediately knew she had to help her get the right wig for her hair and skin type, and give her back the confidence she had in herself. After treating her, Hana called weeks later to find the heart breaking news that the girl had passed, but only after being able to really enjoy herself with friends because of the confidence from her new hair and looking like she had before the cancer.

From this experience, Hana learned that quality of time is more important than the quantity of time. Hana’s mission is “quality over quantity” when it comes to being able to give someone back their quality of life during hair loss and other treatments. Her mission behind the nonprofit, Hana’s Hope has always been to inspire inclusion of everyone regardless of gender, sex, or disability.

Hana herself suffered from breast cancer and hair loss, after having worked in the hair care industry for years, and she found support from her local community, her customers, and the LGBTQ+ community. During this time, she began receiving many wigs and donations from people who no longer needed their wigs. Inspired by the support she had received during her cancer treatments, Hana knew there was a need for wigs in the community, and she began giving back and donating to those who now needed the same help she had received. She understood how important hair is to a person’s confidence and self-identity when going through so much already. She wanted to help give back in all the ways she could, and continues to do so.

Hana’s nonprofit, Hana’s Hope, has been her dream that turned reality with the help of the donations and sponsors around her. This September, Hana is hosting her Whxyte Wedding Fashion Show at History Colorado. The fashion show is inspired by helping many trans men and women see themselves the way they feel, and giving them a better quality of life. Hana’s Hope has worked on this event for the past two years, making sure everything is exactly as she has imagined, especially the wedding dresses to be modeled. Some of the dresses are made from scratch by a team of designers, some are repurposed to fit the exact personality and build of the model, and some are kept exactly the way they were found from arc Thrift Store donations. The models will be wearing wigs in colors of light pink, blue, and purple from Hana Designs and wearing dresses from arc Thrift as well as originals from Hana’s Hope’s team of designers.

Hana’s Whxyte Wedding fashion show is fundraising to support LGBTQ+ communities, and seeks to educate and advocate for all of those who have felt their self-esteem taken away. The event takes place September 7, 2019 at History Colorado. Find out more about Hana’s Hope at and information on the Whxyte Wedding Fashion Show at

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Ambassador Spotlight: Lisa

Lisa is an arc Ambassador who has been with the company for about ten years. She works in the corporate office, organizing and sorting vouchers to be donated all around the state. Lisa organizes each large stack of vouchers into piles of 20 to make handing them out much more efficient. One of Lisa’s main responsibilities, and her favorite, is answering the phone and dealing with all the “crazy conversations” she has had over the years.

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Because Lisa has been with arc for so long, she has seen many changes. But, she loves it just as much today as she did on her first day.

When asked to name her favorite things about arc, Lisa said, “This is seriously the best job I have ever had, and if I could work longer hours, I would. I absolutely love it here.”

When Lisa isn’t working at arc she is skiing at Winter Park with her girlfriends, or making crafts. Her favorite crafts to make are handmade scarves and hats. She makes her hats for babies and for adults.

Lisa’s bright and friendly energy makes it no surprise she has many best friends throughout the company and stores. In fact, she has “too many to count, but Lorrie at JCRS is just awesome.”

Lisa has a strong passion for arc Thrift and loves being able to work with some of her greatest friends each day.

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Blocks of Holiday Cheer from arc

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My very favorite time of year to thrift is Christmas time, and my very favorite place to thrift is arc. There are always tons of ornaments and decorations to find in boxes and in tiny hanging bags. I love these little treasure bags and have had lots of luck finding fun holiday treasures.

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My latest treasure bag find was these vintage Gurley candles. They are fun, figural, Christmas shapes and little guys. The price was right at arc with one bag at $.99 and one at $1.29. I wasn’t sure how to best display these so I wandered around arc for inspiration.

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I spotted this giant box of blocks over in the toy section for only $2.99 and decided to use them to spell out holiday words as a base for the candles.

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I chose to start with “noel” but it was such a big box that I was also able to find letters for “joy,” “merry xmas,” and “fa la la” for my next round of creating. A good bargain at arc for such a big box.


After finding the letters that I wanted, I started by hot-gluing them together.

I decided on my placement of the candles and then hot-glued them on the top. Looking back, I wish I had painted the top of the blocks white before gluing on the candles. I did it afterwards and it doesn’t look quite as neat as it could have. Oh well, learning is part of crafting, and it is very no-pressure when all of the supplies cost only about $5 total from arc.

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I painted around the bases of the candles with white acrylic paint and then shook on some fake snow. This was a crazy simple craft but I love how it turned out. It’s a cute holiday project for very little cost thanks to arc thrift.

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Deck the Halls with Thrifted Fashion Finds!

Emily Karbach // December 3, 2018

It’s here!!

The Holiday season is finally upon us, and the only thing more stressful than trying to find the perfect gift for your “less than favorite” coworker at the company Christmas party is trying to find an even more perfect outfit. Every year, the holiday fashion game becomes more complex and it can be easy to feel lost amongst the stuffed clothing racks and anxious shoppers at your local mall. This year skip the lines, crowds, and accidentally wearing the exact same dress as your cousin to Christmas dinner: Shop at arc Thrift Stores!

Admittedly, when thinking about holiday attire at arc you probably think of “ugly sweater party” before “New Year’s Eve dress.” Although everyone loves a good Christmas sweater, they are only a tiny part of holiday fashion you can find while thrifting. Arc has everything from a showstopping dress for Christmas Eve to cozy knits you end up living in all winter long.

Finding the perfect holiday dress is an absolute essential, and the thrift store can be a great place to find one that is beautiful and unique. Here are some of my tried and true dress shopping tips: Focus on the colors that are popular that season, such as reds, greens, blues, silvers, and golds. If you’re feeling daring, experiment with patterns and textures, or keep it more classic with a monochromatic piece. Also, maintaining a modern silhouette helps prevent your dress from looking outdated while still showcasing the unique elements of thrifted pieces. A classic silhouette that flatters your figure will elevate your look.


This blue velour wrap dress gives me a classic, sophisticated look…even when standing in a bathroom 😉

Arc is perfect for finding everyday seasonal pieces as well. Cozy turtlenecks and chunky knits are at the top of everyone’s style board this winter, and they’re easy to find at arc. When buying sweaters, it can be helpful to look a size above what you normally wear for that extra cozy and oversized feel. While you’re there, check out the jeans and pick up some straight-leg, high-waisted denim to complete the look with one of this season’s hottest pieces.


This modern take on the classic jeans and sweater look has been my go-to all winter, keeping me cozy and cute!

I love thrifting year-round but there’s something special about shopping at arc during the holiday season. There’s not much is better than giving back to your community while finding something new to love, and I can’t wait to fill my closet with all my favorite fashion finds this winter. Whether it’s for the perfect outfit, decorations to fill your home with festive spirit, or a gift for that special someone, shop arc Thrift!

Happy Thrifting,


Instagram: @emily_karbach