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Boomerangs thrift stores to close in June

Fenway Health posted the news today: The Boomerangs shops in Jamaica Plain, the South End and Central Square will be closing in June - and have already stopped accepting donations.

The stores originally opened in the mid-1990s to support the AIDS Action Committee and its HIV health and support services - which were later later absorbed into what is now Fenway Health.

When Boomerangs launched in the mid-1990s, it was an incredibly innovative way to raise money for HIV services. For nearly 20 years, Boomerangs was an amazing success story, but for the last six years, it has seen significant financial losses. Fenway simply cannot continue to absorb those losses year after year, so we have made the difficult decision to close Boomerangs.


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Comments

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Voting closed 144

I will have to read their announcement. I can't understand why they would close all 3. The South End got great donations including furniture that brought in good money.

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You have no idea what their balance sheet looks like. Why would you assume they are highly profitable in the South End location?

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at the stores and the parent company is that the stores were profitable (easy to believe at a moment when thrift is booming in general, and these are among the best thrift stores in the city) but that parent Fenway Health is horribly mismanaged. It was raiding the stores' profits to help its otherwise fucked balance sheet. I believe them.

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Voting closed 25

Boomerangs seemed always to be doing great business every time I went into one. People were still donating great stuff despite the rise of consignment shops and online resale shops.

I feel sorry for the staff.

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wouldn't it be in Fenway Health's interest to keep the stores open, so they can raid more profits in the future? (That's the whole purpose of the stores.)

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where the CEO has a half-million-dollar-a-year salary.

Right.

Cleaning up all that "mismanagement" must be a stressful job.

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But $500k seems like a not crazy salary for a healthcare organization that's managing 100 million dollars in revenue.

(and for what it's worth, Charity Navigator gives them a 96% rating and says they're doing great in terms of the percentage of their expenses go to services rather than administration)

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They kept the store open for 6 years. My gut is that the store was turning a profit. But the current Fenway management is no longer interested in maintaining what amounts to a division.

Why would they claim that the stores were financial losses? Perhaps because they are telling a half truth and a half lie. The announcement did not state that all stores were running at a loss.

If the JP store was running at a loss then how can the Goodwill store remain open without running at a loss? Better management of a thrift store? Is there a surplus of thrift stores? How are the other thrift stores managing to stay open? Add that on Centre Street there is profit oriented used clothing store.

The claim that the Boomerang's operation is a money looser smells very fishy. But then Fenway is not known for being the best medical operation.

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Thanks for the memories.

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This is tragic.

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More Than Words is a great alternative. It’s run by minority youth and it’s a great opportunity for them to learn how to run businesses. yes, they handle many books, but they also handle other items like clothing and household items. It’s a great place to donate and a great place to shop.

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Voting closed 45

I'm sure they'll come back.

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It would be great if they live up to their name.

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I wonder what changed either with local culture or their operation that thrift stores that once were profitable are no longer profitable.

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Charging outrageous rents?

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Higher rents, higher wages, competition with people selling stuff on Amazon/Ebay/Craigslist, greater availability of cheap fast fashion (i.e. why buy used when you can get new at Primark/H&M for $10).

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New at Primark? Yeah, land of synthetic material cheaply made that is not classic fashion. At least one was able to buy a 100% cotton, 100% linen, or 100% wool or cashmere high-end name money peice that never goes out of style for less than $25.00 at Boomerang's. So what if there's a small ink stain at the bottom seam? Tuck the shit it in! Although, I will admit that over the past 6 years at least, those items became rarer and rarer to score at Boomerang's. Its Golden Age were early years.

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According to Boomerangs staff, the stores ARE still profitable. Fenway Health is just struggling and misdirecting blame.

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.

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They chose to not continue a South End/Back Bay presence. They have shortened mental health services to high margin short term.

Fenway is not run by good managers.

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Secondhand sales moving online changed a lot of local businesses, generally for the worse. Craigslist started the avalanche that killed local newspapers, and now this.

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Voting closed 14

bought and donated a (probably literal) ton of clothes there over the years, and felt good about the cause it supported.

Thoughts on where to take my donations of men's clothes and household goods now? Goodwill isn't a favorite for a number of reasons.

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The thrift shop in Roslindale Village which partners with the Home For Little Wanderers

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They take usable and non usable textiles. Shoes as well.

Not sure how they work for recycling the usable stuff. Seems like an outside vendor takes it for resale or donation.

There is one behind the Jos. Quincy school on Shawmut and others throughout city neighborhoods.

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Voting closed 36

The Boston program also takes other items made of textiles. Think gym bags, luggage, stuffed animals, and a whole lot more.

https://www.boston.gov/departments/public-works/recycling-clothing-and-t...

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Voting closed 20

The city started with their recycling project just before I moved south and they even picked up. This was very helpful because my packing produced an embarrassing number of bags of used clothing (and in a few cases new; items I had bought just before the pandemic for office wear, only to have my job turn totally remote allowing me to move south in the first place!) and shoes. They were very friendly and enthusiastic.

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You could try reaching out to the Freedom Fighters Coalition? They sometimes accept clothes for low income families and folks without access to permanent housing.

Cambridge Community Center also does a buy nothing market on a fairly regular basis where folks can "shop" donated items for free.

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Helpsy does at-home pickup; also, Savers will accept drop-off donations.

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…is the only place left. I refuse to give or buy from Goodwill ever since watching the documentary “Bottom Dollar,” which exposes their exploitation of ppl with disabilities

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In addition to the Little Wanderers thrift shop on Corinth Street, there's also Urban Renewals on American Legion Highway.

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Urban Renewals on American Legion Highway is generally a good bet for accepting much of the same stuff that Boomerangs did.

For some housewares, books, music, and all things furniture and hardware, the Habitat for Humanity ReStores in Dedham and Chelmsford are good choices.

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Voting closed 22

Urban Renewals accepts donations, but be aware they are a for-profit company and not affiliated with any charity. I always wondered where their inventory comes from, as the bulk of it is not from donations. Possibly estate sales and abandoned storage lockers, but I don't know for sure.

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Neighbors Who Care Thrift Shop, 709 Main Street, Waltham (Parking in Rear) neighborswhocare.net or Waltham Clothing Exchange (accepts clothing and household items) https://walthamuu.org/community/waltham-clothing-exchange/

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The place has been mis-managed for the last 6 years. Nice people work there, for sure, the the work over the years has been commendable.
It will be missed.

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Voting closed 20

I stopped donating to them. One time I showed up and they told me they were full that day and I couldn't even put all the heavy stuff I had brought to donate in the dumpster. Another time they ungraciously took my donations from me and sorted them, throwing some out right in front of me. They also had a sign on the door of their Central Square location telling people not to leave donations in front if they were closed because that is DUMPING and it is ILLEGAL. It was really rude, no "thank you for your donations but..." or anything like that.

I guess what goes around boomerangs back.

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A gold medal?

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But many of the employees got really rude and weird after COVID. It's true.

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Not saying you didn’t.

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It makes a mess that the store has to clean up in the morning. I know this all too well from walking by the Goodwill store in Davis Square. Please don't try to "donate" when the store is not open.

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I have a big bag of nice clothes in my car that I was going to donate to them...

Any other charities like this that I should know about?

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.

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I'm sorry to hear this. The one in Central Square was a favorite of mine. I still haven't recovered from the closing of Urban Renewals in Allston. I know they moved to Roslindale, but not only are they now at a near impossible to get to location, the one time I did manage to overcome the odds and get there it wasn't nearly as good as the old location. Very disappointing.

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Voting closed 15

This train has been coming off the rails sloooooowly for a couple of years. I think this is mostly an expression of how unbelievably disfunctional Fenway Health has become.

At its best, Boomerangs was something like a community center for JP. Its absence will underline the parallel slooooooow death of JP center.

Man--did I ever get some awesome things there over the years!

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Voting closed 24

I truly believe that the downfall started with The mess regarding the CEO several years ago. I was very involved with Fenway at one point being an AIDS walk captain for many years. Now I really don’t recognize the organization anymore. I think the organization is so busy trying to be inclusive that it’s forgetting about its basic mission.

One bright point is my friend has his primary care doctor there. They have been very responsive since he was diagnosed with leukemia several weeks ago.

I guess that bag of clothes I’ve been carrying around in my car will have to be donated elsewhere. Bye Boomerangs, it was fun.
Peace/out

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Their medical staff ranges from good to abysmal. They employed a doctor a while back who was clear that he believed anyone who smoked cigarettes was an inferior person.

Their front desk staff in dentist and medicine has often seemed to be exhausted and wishing that patients would just go away.

The CEO several years ago covered for a doctor who sexually abused patients. Maybe only the CEO knew?

Their dentists range from good to horrible. I nearly sued one dentist for incompetence. Never have I experienced the pain caused by that jamoke.

Their 24/7 doctor and nursing staff has proven to be rude and insulting and potentially life threatening when they stopped accepting calls.

They spend money paying staff to go on trips when the money could be put back into medical services.

They used to demand signing paper after paper after paper without any explanation of the reason for demanding signatures.

They pay their top brass very nice salaries, maybe too much.

They have a monopoly in health services in that no other health service markets itself as much to the GLBT community. If they had competition the organization would go under if the management that is running it into the ground continued.

There is a lot that is wrong at Fenway Health.

But as for Boomerangs running a loss? Maintain a non-profit business for 6 years as it ran a loss? Not as though they can carry over losses on their taxes from year to year. That is a lie. So now we know that their management will lie.

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Voting closed 16

I had gone to Fenway Health because at the time, I didn't know there were other community health centers around; also, the insurance I had through MassHealth would not take Atrius Health (I had bronze level coverage; Atrius was silver and above). For the time I was there, the service was OK; appointments were on time and I was able to get my medications without a problem.

I ended up joining Mass General in 2021...I didn't realize Fenway Health was getting that bad.

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There top 7 paid employees' salaries combine at $2,554,315.00. An average of $364,902.14. That does not include bennies.

On the other hand medical executives such as those gold collar executives at whatever Partners is now called, or the corporate parasites that destroy Stewards Health Care System, are now paid enough that they are part of a class of people where they have no reason to care about any who are not part of their class. The Hypocratic Oath down the toilet.They are rich, we are not. They are God's favored; we are God's refuse.

So maybe Fenway is just trying split the difference where salaries are concerned.

On the other hand, any of these executives could help any number of patients whose financial lives are constantly skidding across the concrete.

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