by Emma Polen | feature editor
March 31, 2022
The victim’s name in this story was changed for privacy reasons.
Lisa is a victim of domestic abuse. For years she has been stalked by her ex of hers and it seems no one can help her. At 55, she is struggling to provide for her grandchildren when she isn’t even sure about her future.
“I’m trying to be sure [my granddaughter] happy and confident. I have to wear my fake but she hears me crying, ”Lisa said.
She jumped from one state to another in hopes of escaping the violence and manipulation of her tormentor. And in two weeks she will be kicked out of her temporary home.
“I can’t do anything private. I can’t go anywhere in private. I can not talk”.
Lisa did everything she had to – she told the police, called the crisis centers and even confronted the stalker directly – and still no one helped her. Due to the nature of her abuse, women’s shelters and law enforcement have had very little to help.
Lisa had heard about the unique goals of Treasure House Fashion, a women’s resale store on McKnight Road, in helping women who experience domestic abuse. On a whim she decided to go in to donate some clothes. “I was desperate,” she said she.
After a brief conversation with an employee who works in the store, Lisa was introduced to Sally Power, founder and executive director of Treasure House Fashion, who is often featured.
Instantly, Lisa felt a difference between the Treasure House Fashion community and wherever she turned for help.
“I felt like I was just going around in circles, you know? And to be able to walk in here and feel separate from it, to have someone there… just because it was really hard. I don’t have anyone, ”Lisa said.
When the whole world seemed to be against her and her family, it was Sally Power at Treasure House Fashion who became Lisa’s “angel” of saving grace. She offered clothes, comforted her, and gave her inside information about a women’s crisis organization in Pittsburgh.
The power of a consistent message
Treasure House Fashion (THF) allows women to look their best and feel their best, even as they face incredibly difficult life situations. Treasure House’s mission is “to promote the dignity and self-esteem of women, especially women in transition or in crisis”.
Lisa is one of more than 40,000 women THF has served and supported since its opening in 2001.
The business was originally a women’s resale shop for sale to help Sally Power, the founder and current executive director, with the post-death expenses of her husband. But one day everything changed.
“And all women have a story. Each of us has a story, “Power said.” So when you hear a story, and it’s just that ‘arrow of the heart’ toward you, you want to do something. “
“Women are nurturers by nature,” Power said. Her business was supposed to be a place where “donors” could invest in themselves – a place for women who are “the heart of the home; the heart of the community “.
In the same spirit of giving, many customers will share the love by giving away THF gift cards.
“[Shoppers] not only will they buy something for themselves, but they will pay for it forward, ”Power said. “They will sign a gift certificate that they will leave for another woman who may arrive unexpectedly, who is going through difficult times.”
Lisa is a recipient of this act of kindness. You have had the opportunity to shop at THF with a gift card provided by another customer. At first, she was reluctant to accept the gift.
“I have a hard time taking and receiving and it has made me feel uncomfortable,” said Lisa.
But Power made a compelling argument. To reluctant recipients of him, Power says, “You know how good it is to give to someone else. How could you dare deny this woman the pleasure of doing it? She already feels good about leaving this [gift card] for you. And she didn’t even know who I was.
Even for non-crisis women, THF provides a supportive community. With a plethora of donations received in recent years, THF has offered a 60% discount on the entire store since it reopened after the pandemic, with special sales of 70%.
During the pandemic, Power saw far more women in need of financial assistance, but fewer clients. Furthermore, the customers who came in person were elderly women, the most vulnerable population.
“They felt so alone,” Power said. “They heard [THF] it was a safe haven and they just went out and talked. A couple of them said to me: ‘Do you want to hug me?’ because they felt so alone “. And of course she helped.
The power of positivity
THF employees aren’t just known for their free hugs.
Throughout the year, THF staff dress up in silly costumes and give each client “unsolicited affirmations,” Power said.
“We try to maintain and cultivate a culture of fun, playfulness, laughter and a welcoming attitude. Because life is hard. And laughter is the best medicine, ”Power said.
While maintaining an upbeat atmosphere, according to Power, THF has donated over half a million dollars to women in transition and crisis. With the pandemic, THF has still managed to donate $ 450,000 worth of clothes in the past 12 months.
Additionally, all clothing donations THF receives from women whom Power and her crew have described as “over-loved” go to Saint Vincent de Paul, a national organization that provides materials for the most vulnerable and marginalized. For 20 years, the relationship has been “collaborative and mutually supportive,” Power said.
THF partners with over 60 crisis centers in the Pittsburgh area to not only provide clothes and cash donations, but also some retail therapy.
“It makes you feel more confident and walk a little taller … When women leave, they feel good,” Power said.
The power of possibility
Power’s goal has always been to expand its business to better serve more community members.
When Power learned that military women are the least served population in America, she said “Not under my watch.” You have hosted events in the hope of providing a supportive community for these marginalized populations.
Powers plans to expand the service capabilities of the THF physical location.
By expanding the second-floor balcony to a full second floor, Powers hopes to provide a training center, bathrooms and a shower for clients who may need it.
Additionally, it plans a THF elevator to make the second floor accessible to disabled and elderly people passing through the store.
Due to its difficult location on the McKnight Road side, Power would also like to finance a mural for the company side. Two women from a local art firm have promised to draw it for her, but Power still needs to find the financial means to make her dream possible.
“It’s a little crazy, but that’s what I want,” he said.
Visit THF in-store at 7607 McKnight Road during normal hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm. Their inventory is also available for online purchase on Ebay and Poshmark (@ treasurehouse4u). More information on how to donate money, time or clothes can be found on their website.
By buying clothes that ultimately make the wearer feel good at low cost, Treasure House Fashion affirms the treasure that is in all women.