Creative Giving

Volunteer stages furniture, decor at unique thrift store.

Lorene Brown has discovered her “happy place”—The Langdon, a 501C3 consignment-for-charity resale shop located in an elongated, rustic log cabin in Mound.

Operated by volunteers like Brown, The Langdon touts itself as being different from traditional thrift stores. Donated used wares are sold at the shop to raise money for a cause of the donor’s choosing. “It’s more than just a store. It’s a community working to make a difference in people’s lives,” says Brown, a volunteer there for three years.
 
Open since May 2014, the store sells “exquisite things for affordable prices,” says Claudia Lacy, its director and founder. She emphasizes the store’s biggest goal is to help the marginalized.
 
For the three to seven hours a week that Chanhassen resident Brown volunteers, there is one task she enjoys most: moving stuff around. Brown lets loose her creative side in the most "MacGyver" of ways, staging furniture and decor to fit whatever theme comes to mind from what’s at hand.

Design possibilities for Brown are endless, thanks to an eclectic array of second-hand treasures on sale at any given time—from sterling silver bracelets and gowns to antique couches and window treatments. The Langdon accepts items in excellent condition that are high-end design, “cool” and in demand, according to its website. Many donations come from the well-heeled, who live around Lake Minnetonka.

“That’s the fun part of it,” Brown says. “You just run around the store and find pieces that go together and stage it. For instance, I did a 1920s flapper display when a lot of things were coming in from that era.”

Staging furniture is unlike her day job as a cardiac clinical nurse specialist at Park Nicollet Heart and Vascular Center. “It’s a hobby,” Brown says of her design work. “Tapping into my creative side, as well as doing what I do professionally, is an important balance in my life.”

Volunteers, Brown says, chip in doing what they want to do at The Langdon, whether that be accounting, repairing items, mowing the lawn, selling, cleaning or staging furniture. “Lorene is funny because she doesn’t like to sell,” says Lacy, a former investment portfolio manager who now lives in Minnetrista. “She has a very stressful job. She wants just to come and putz and clean, so she stages, and she decorates, and she cleans. We were here to midnight last night pulling things together, but when you come in Wednesday morning, it’s usually beautiful. And that’s what Lorene does.”

Brown was drawn to volunteer at The Langdon by virtue of the variety of charities it helps.

Donors select a charity to benefit from the sale. Once sold, the charity gets 50 percent of the proceeds; The Langdon gets the other half to help pay operating expenses. Charitable possibilities run the gamut, from cancer research and pet rescue groups to funding a grandchild’s church mission trip.  For instance, consignment sales benefited a nonprofit ballet company affiliated with Dance Arts Centre in Chanhassen. “It’s nice to know that I’m helping more than just one nonprofit with my time,” Brown says. “It’s not like putting all my eggs in one basket.”

Brown says her  family thinks her volunteer work is a good outlet for her design aspirations.

Why? “I don’t have to buy all the furniture to play with it,” she says.  

The Langdon, 2929 Commerce Blvd., Mound, is open from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Wednesday–Saturday. Lacy says the shop is in need of more volunteers and donated storage space. For more information, call 952.836.6347 or visit the website here.