When you climb the narrow flight of stairs at 49 Genesee St. in Greene, prepare yourself. In the voluminous loft, you’ll find a bevy of cheerful, dedicated staff scurrying around rotating merchandise and greeting customers amid rows of neatly folded and hanging items.
This shopping utopia is not a chain department store; it’s Greene’s Community Clothing Bank.
Staffed entirely by volunteers and filled by donations, the clothing bank offers garments in all shapes and sizes as well as a limited amount of other items like children’s toys and books. There is no checkout counter, and the only cash accepted is by way of donations.
The clothing bank occupies the entire top floor of the building which also houses the village offices. The high-ceilinged space was once home to Greene’s fire department.
The operation was started by two Greene residents, Janet Kozisky and Ginny Austin, after the 2006 floods. They originally set up shop at the Highland Park Church, which generously donated the space to help them get started.
“It gave us a great start, but we knew that we’d need more space,” Janet said.
They were originally quartered in just one room at the church, but quickly outgrew the space to occupy two rooms and a hallway. But it still wasn’t enough. The cramped quarters made organizing the donations difficult.
“We had really nice stuff, but people got frustrated,” she explained. With the cooperation of the village board, the clothing bank relocated in April.