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Creating synergy in opposing sectors

Posted: June 25, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 25, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Ashley Guardino, left, and Miriam Robles shop at Closet on Main in Newhall. Ashley Guardino, left, and Miriam Robles shop at Closet on Main in Newhall.
Ashley Guardino, left, and Miriam Robles shop at Closet on Main in Newhall.

Two Newhall clothes boutiques – one nonprofit and one for-profit – are working together in a unique, synergistic partnership to boost business and provide valuable services to the community.

Clothing shop Closet on Main supports local nonprofit Single Mothers Outreach of Santa Clarita by donating clothes and all proceeds to the organization, said Executive Director DaAnne Smith. In turn, SMO clients and volunteers donate their time working in the store.

When longtime volunteer and Saugus resident Laurie Tucci Auger expressed a lifelong dream to open an independent for-profit venture, Closet on Main offered her a solution.

Tucci Auger opened Via Tucci – a “boho-chic” boutique with flowy, comfortable fabrics – within Closet on Main. In return, she works at Closet, extending business hours and increasing opportunity for revenue, she said.

“The opportunity to launch my own business is invaluable,” Tucci Auger said. “It’s been a dream of mine for more than 20 years. It was a way for me to pursue my dream but still stay connected to an organization I felt strongly about.”

In addition, Tucci Auger has the chance to learn retail management from the Closet team, including Margo Miller.

“She knows business, and she’s really guided me through this,” Tucci Auger said.
The nonprofit provides opportunity for the private sector, and the private sector supports the nonprofit, Tucci Auger said.

“Everyone benefits,” the women said.

The ultimate goal for both parties, however, is to benefit the community, as well, they said.

Closet on Main stemmed from an influx in donated clothing and a need to better distribute it, Smith said.

In a warehouse at Single Mothers Outreach, clothes sat in stacks on tables, and overflowing racks lined the walls.

SMO wanted to provide a place with more dignity for their clients, a boutique that made the clients feel the same as any other shopper, Smith said.

So Closet on Main was born, offering retail training to volunteer staffers.

Clients also benefit by periodically receiving eight free items of clothing, as well as eight items for each child in the family, Smith said, as long as they are actively involved in the SMO program that teaches self-sustainability.

Now the public can support the nonprofit, and the nonprofit offers support to a philanthropically minded for-profit startup.

All parties hope the community benefits from the partnership, which aims to provide high-quality clothes at competitive price points and a positive shopping experience.

“We’re here for the community,” said SMO volunteer Tracy Hauser.



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