neighborhood industries

Neighborhood Industries CEO Anthony “AP” Armour is trying to raise $2.5 million to purchase their Neighborhood Thrift building in the Tower District of Fresno and bolster its job-training programs.

published on June 14, 2022 - 1:17 PM
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Neighborhood Industries has announced “Reimagining Neighborhood,” a fundraising campaign with the hopes of raising $2.5 million to purchase and renovate its Neighborhood Thrift building, currently under lease in Fresno’s Tower District.

Founded in 2008, Neighborhood Industries operates the thrift store and invests in the Tower District community, offering employment opportunities to residents and investing in workforce development for employees — many of whom have little to no workplace experience prior to working at Neighborhood Thrift.

Operating out of their location at 353 E. Olive Ave. for the past 13 years, Neighborhood Thrift hopes purchasing the building will save them a substantial amount of money, enabling them to further assist Tower and its residents.

Anthony "AP" Armour
Anthony “AP” Armour

 

Neighborhood Industries’ CEO Anthony “AP” Armour hopes the fundraiser will grow the business to better serve the community.

“The capital campaign is to fundraise so we can pay back some initial investors, [and] also to do renovations. There’s no less than half a million dollars of renovation,” Armour said, adding renovation costs may even come close to $750,000.

With community support, Neighborhood Industries has rebounded from a June 2021 fire that destroyed around 30,000 square feet of warehouse space, costing the nonprofit organization around $500,000 in retail inventory, inventory for its recycling division and warehouse equipment.

Despite the fire, Neighborhood Industries was able to relocate to a new warehouse by September of that year. The recycling division was up and running by the next month, even increasing their loads by 22% over the previous year.

“Just like the pandemic did, the fire gave us a unique opportunity to look at things differently,” said Armour. “If you were to look in our warehouse now, you would never have thought we’d lost everything.”

Armour said the community immediately responded, and after only five days without service, the store reopened with donations and help from the community.

“We somehow had to enhance our operation just to accommodate the support,” Armour said. “It’s the best problem to have.”

Now, Armour hopes to once again give back to the community with this fundraising effort.

“I want to get to a point where every dollar you give me, I’m going to put a dollar back into the community,” Armour said. “Help me continue to help this neighborhood; help me help this neighborhood be the best version of itself.”

Neighborhood Industries has been working with the Beautify Fresno initiative, not only cleaning the area with the assistance of the solid waste department, but also giving back to the community by offering jobs to local residents in need.

“Our Pathways to Employment Program is simply just an on ramp for people to quite literally show up to work and learn how to work,” said Armour. “We’ve taken people who have probably been disregarded at some point in their lives and now they’re the biggest contributors in this specific neighborhood.”

The fundraiser, split into three phases, will initially aim to commit a $500,000 down payment on the Neighborhood Thrift building, followed by an estimated $700,000 renovation phase.

The final phase of $1.3 million will go to paying off the building, a move that will save the company nearly $12,000 a month according to Neighborhood Industries Development Director Ricky Bravo.

“In a perfect world, in two years — spring of 2024 — we’ll be cutting the ribbon on a newly renovated building,” said Bravo.

Armour has named the fundraiser “Reimagining Neighborhood,” to outline the importance of opening minds to what Tower District can be to its residents.

“I hope other businesses — and I think it’s catching on already — reimagine how you do business in this neighborhood,” Armour said. “I hope this is an opportunity to change the conversation a little bit and present a different way of going about it.”

To donate, visit neighborhoodindustries.org.


Related: AP Armour’s Business Journal Executive Profile


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