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Dress for success – for free

Nearly New – A Repeat Boutique store manager Peggy Koontz, left, and Bound for Success founder and Executive Director Fawn Dolan go through donated clothing to be sold at the boutique Saturday.

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

In its own way, Nearly New – A Repeat Boutique offers the ultimate women’s shopping experience.

A diverse selection of clothes, shoes and accessories.

One-on-one attention from shop proprietors.

And … free clothes?

The Bernalillo boutique – opened in 1997 and run by nonprofit Bound for Success – does offer gently used clothing for sale, which helps the shop pay its bills and stay open. But the store’s real purpose is providing free clothing to women in need.

Nearly New – A Repeat Boutique at 836 Camino del Pueblo is open to shoppers, but also makes clothing available for free to women in need. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Founder and Executive Director Fawn Dolan said that while the shop doesn’t have any income requirements for those it helps, its target clients are women in transition in “all kinds of different scenarios.” Some are homeless and looking for employment. Others are homemakers going back to work, or getting a job for the first time. Still others are survivors of domestic violence trying to become self-sufficient.

“It’s really varied,” Dolan said. “We’ve had women from 16 to 65. It just depends on their situation.”

The boutique was closed for several months at the outset of the pandemic, but is now open again with limited hours. Shoppers can come in during open hours, but Dolan said the nonprofit is asking women in need to call for an appointment to try to manage surges of people inside the store.

Those women will spend some time trying on clothes and are allowed to choose five free items of clothing.

The boutique – which is partially limiting clothing donations out of sanitation concerns during the pandemic – is also open to paying customers, who Dolan said are what keeps the doors open. This week, summer clothing is 75% off for those clients and the shop is starting to put out fall clothing.

Dolan said she wants to get the word out to women in need that the boutique is still there.

“I just want them to know what a valuable service we provide,” she said.

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