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New thrift shop to become training center, lifeline for Tucsonans

Bringing Out the Best to open in coming weeks
Esthermarie Hillman and Valorie Grega are spearheading 'Bringing Out the Best.'
Posted at 10:27 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-15 01:30:20-04

The sprawling shop previously owned by SAS Fabrics—and known as Holiday House Interior Design & Manufacturing before that—is being transformed into a thrift shop aimed at helping Tucsonans in multiple ways.

The shop at 5320 E. Speedway Boulevard, which is set to open in the coming weeks, has a name that matches its overall goal: 'Bringing Out the Best.'

“It really is my goal that this building belong to the community," said Esthermarie Hillman, co-creator and visionary behind BOB.

Hillman is no stranger to helping people, volunteering with the Pueblo Optimist Club and eventually leading the non-profit ‘Wings for Women.’

Now her dream is taking off, and people and non-profits around town are jumping on board.

“Thrift store’s been in the back of my mind for a long time, of a way that we could donations into the dollars that are needed, and give our clients a way to see the items we have, better," Hillman said.

A voucher program through partner non-profits can give people in need the items they need, according to Hillman, who said sales dollars will then go to fund utility and housing help, which she identified as two of the most pressing needs in Southern Arizona.

Beyond the thrift shop—the massive building is also being planned as a sort of training center to lead more people to land jobs.

That initiative will include kitchen areas for culinary training and a home base for food truck owners, plus a restaurant where menu items can be tested before being rolled out as part of a business plan.

There are also plans to provide training in industries like retail, jewelry, and sewing (through Mending Souls).

Hillman says she wants to create a place to give people a foundation for furthering their education, starting a business, or overcoming homelessness.

“I mean, I could give you a pair of pants to wear today, I could give you a food box for today. But I actually want to give you the finances to get into a home, and the counseling, and everything else you need, so you can actually have the success," she said. "Not just give you a band-aid and say, ‘Here you go, see you later.’”

Hillman and her good friend Valorie Grega spearheaded a small group that made this possible.

“I love helping people wherever I can, so I kind of share that with her," Grega said.

The group is doing the dirty work themselves, reshaping the building in their image. They've made extensive improvements inside the building since Hillman acquired it in late 2021.

“Go home exhausted, but I get to see what we accomplished," said Grega. "It seemed impossible back, three months ago, four months ago, but the closer we get, the more excited I get. I’m excited to see what this is gonna do for the community.”

As the work continues—the team is still looking for more volunteers.

To learn more, you can visit Bringing Out the Best's website.

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Ryan Fish is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9 and comes to the Sonoran Desert from California’s Central Coast after working as a reporter, sports anchor and weather forecaster in Santa Barbara. Ryan grew up in the Chicago suburbs, frequently visiting family in Tucson. Share your story ideas and important issues with Ryan by emailing ryan.fish@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.