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The YWCA is buying the former Good Food Store on Kensington Street for a second Secret Seconds store where both furniture and clothing will be sold.

"All our research shows it will be successful," said Cindy Weese, executive director of the YWCA. "Our current store is just packed. … We've outgrown the building. That can be off-putting to customers when the shopping experience isn't the same and it's hard to get clothes out that are seasonal."

The current Secret Seconds store provides unrestricted funds that are used to support the YWCA's Pathways Program, Transitional Housing and Children's Program. Last year, the store sold $228,840 of merchandise, with more than $100,000 directly benefiting women and children in crisis.

"As government and foundation funding becomes increasingly scarce and the needs of women and children in our community continue to rise, we must find a way to ensure our programs for the future," Weese said.

The YWCA has had its eye on the building since the group learned the store was moving out.

"We've been in discussions with them for some time," Weese said.

"We wanted that building from the get-go," she said. "It's a great location and our philosophy is similar to the Good Food's: providing for healthy families and recycling, which is what we're doing with Secret Seconds. I hope we'll be good stewards at the location."

The YWCA will need to raise more money for the purchase to match grants from the Murdock Foundation and the Paul Allen Foundation, both regional foundations.

"They've challenged us to raise 50 percent (of the $700,000 cost) by July 1," Weese said. "They want to see widespread community support before they jump aboard."

The YWCA has already raised about $250,000 of the needed $350,000.

"We're well on our way there," she said, adding that a big push will be needed during the final month and a half.

A name has not yet been selected although, Weese said, it will have something to do with the Secret Seconds name.

"We'll maintain one on Broadway and the other on Kensington," she said.

Donations for the Clothespin Campaign can be either cash or in the form of pledges spread out over two or three years. The donations should be sent to Clothespin Campaign, YWCA, 1130 W. Broadway, Missoula, MT 59802.

Reporter Donna Syvertson can be reached at 523-5361 or at dsyvertson@missoulian.com

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