For a number of years the NCMA has talked about the need for a thrift store in Lame Deer. The local economy with the high unemployment rate and resulting poverty on the reservation support the need for an outlet that would provide low-cost clothing and small household items. We noticed that these kinds of items were often brought in and distributed in an undignified way, thus adding to our community’s lack of healthy pride. It is the goal of the NCMA to provide some employment through the store and opportunities for local volunteers to earn work points that could be exchanged for food or gas vouchers.
Due to the discussion about establishing a thrift store the NCMA has become more formalized. A board of 6 members representing 5 church groups was selected. In October 2009, the following vision statement was formulated: “Reflecting God’s love for all, in Christ Jesus, we seek to serve our people’s needs, protecting each one’s dignity.” The decision was reached to apply for 501c3 status. In November 2010 by-laws were approved for incorporation in the state of Montana, and in January 2011 approval of the application for 501c3 was received.
While struggling with finding land and building a suitable structure, the opportunity presented itself for us to rent a temporary building, although not large enough. The Morning Star Baptist Church had recently closed their school and after negotiating, we agreed to rent their building. The decision was made to hire a part time manager, Suzette Shreffler, which we found within our Association and from within our own communities. A flurry of preparations took place to bring us to May 15, 2012, our opening day. Since then we have been open for 3 days per week, 6 hours per day. The name chosen for our store is: Everything Beautiful Thrift Store which in the Cheyenne Language is Emahpeva Netao'o Hova'ha. In addition to providing low cost items for sale, the Thrift Store has been a ministry which most recently provided free items for those who lost their homes in the summer from wild fires in our area.