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Thrift store's proceeds benefit cancer research

Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips
 Sharon Wilson, left, and Beverly Haynes opened up the Nu 2 U upscale thrift store in Lawrenceville four months ago. The duo takes the proceeds from their sales and donates the money to the American Cancer Society and St. Jude Children’s Hospital. 

Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips Sharon Wilson, left, and Beverly Haynes opened up the Nu 2 U upscale thrift store in Lawrenceville four months ago. The duo takes the proceeds from their sales and donates the money to the American Cancer Society and St. Jude Children’s Hospital. 

SNELLVILLE — Cancer took Sharon Wilson’s husband and sister. It also took Beverly Haynes’ father and brother-in-law.

Wilson had a background in the retail business, and Haynes had always wanted to own a boutique. The pair of old church friends ultimately conspired to open an upscale thrift shop, with one caring caveat — all proceeds from donations would benefit cancer research and the pursuit of a cure.

Thus was born Nu 2 U Thrift, which moved to 1365 Grayson Highway in Lawrenceville in August.

“Losing a lot of family members to cancer, and especially two of the dear ones, I was trying to come up with a way I could help and support, and get the community to help me do that also,” said Wilson, a Snellville resident. “I knew that I could get the community to support and help this cause.”

When clothes or other items are donated to the store (a certified nonprofit), 100 percent of the proceeds from their eventual sales is donated to the American Cancer Society and St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Geared exclusively toward women’s clothing and apparel, Nu 2 U also offers free wigs and makeup kits for cancer patients going through treatment.

“Sharon and I both have had so many loved ones who passed away because of cancer,” said Haynes, who lives in Lilburn. “When we decided to go into this business, we wanted the money to be donated for a cure.”

After her husband, Larry, succumbed to lung cancer five years ago, Wilson began thinking of ways to give back. She started having yard sales at her home and scheming other ways to raise money.

Eventually, she and Haynes became fast friends at Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Lilburn. Through their shared experiences and passions, they decided to open their very own upscale thrift store, benefitting research on the disease that has taken so many loved ones from so many people across Gwinnett and the world.

Originally founded in 2009 in Alpharetta, the duo opted to move their operation closer to home after complications with a landlord there.

“It’s just amazing when (customers) walk in the store,” Wilson said with a laugh. “They are amazed because it’s not your average thrift store. It doesn’t look like a thrift store, it doesn’t smell like a thrift store.”

Customers are equally impressed with the concept of an “upscale” thrift store and honored to do their part by spending money that will ultimately go toward fueling the race for a cure, Haynes said.

“We just enjoy what we do,” she said. “We really, really want to make an impact on our community.”