How did Portage MCC begin?
In the autumn of 1983 Portage Mennonite Church, Portage Evangelical Church and the Community Fellowship Church announced the beginning of a new venture, the “Portage MCC Gift & Thrift Shop”.
With volunteers from the three churches, and a $1000 loan from Portage Mennonite Church, the shop was first opened at 139 Saskatchewan Avenue East in Portage la Prairie. In November the shop opened with 35 enthusiastic volunteers, committed to serving the community. The Grand Opening was held in January 1984 and the response from the public was overwhelming.
By 1986 the little shop was experiencing its first growing pains so in August moved across the street into their first purchased building at 204 Sask. Ave. E. In 1990 the shop grew again as the building next door was bought. That same year a venture was begun: the making of quilts and refugee blankets—what would later become The Common Thread.
In 1996 another new venture was taken on, the rental of a building down the street to accommodate furniture and large appliances. In March of 1997 the MCC ReUzit Centre had its Grand Opening at 136 Sask. Ave. E. Also in 1997 the name of the main shop was changed to its current title, Portage MCC Thrift Shop.
In 1999 growth led to another address change. The current building at 149 Sask. Ave. E. was renovated and later purchased, allowing the thrift shop and the ReUzit shop to move together into a much larger facility. The “Quilt Shoppe” remained in the old building for a few more years until renovations allowed them to join the main building in 2006.
In 2010 another expansion took place when the quilters were given a new home. In November The Common Thread was opened next door to Portage MCC Thrift Shop at 141 Sask. Ave. E.
The latest expansion took place in the summer of 2014. The former Sears Hometown store was leased at 131 Sask. Ave. E. to house The Common Thread, furniture & sporting goods. On August 1st the store was opened to the public as Portage MCC Furniture Plus. Since then the store has expanded its stock to include hardware, seasonal, and home décor items.
Over the past 37 years, over 1,000 different volunteers have served at Portage MCC and thanks to the tremendous support of our donors and customers, these faithful volunteers have turned donated items into millions of dollars used to support local charities and the international relief work of Mennonite Central Committee.