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Neal Graham is a Yellow Mountain Enterprises client who works at the thrift shop, makes tin can men and can do a spot-on Elvis impersonation.

Originally published: 2014-02-06 16:23:34
Last modified: 2014-02-06 16:24:20

Yellow Mountain Treasure Box is worth discovering

Caroline Harris / (


Shopping, bargain prices and a worthy cause make up the winning combination behind the continued success of Yellow Mountain Treasure Box thrift shop.

Yellow Mountain Treasure Box is a venture of Yellow Mountain Enterprises, a nonprofit organization that serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Yellow Mountain Enterprises provides paid work opportunities for special individuals, including in its engraving and trophy-making business, making crafts and working in the thrift shop, to name a few.

“Our goal is just to provide work for disabled people. The people we serve basically have this disability for life. Just like anybody, they want to get out of the house and go somewhere and work every day. So we provide that kind of activity as well as social interaction. It gives them friends to be with, activities to participate in and structure to their day. It’s an additional benefit for those who live with family because the family can feel certain that their loved one is being looked after. They have their own jobs and their own lives to tend to,” Tate said.

The Treasure Box has men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, books, jewelry, accessories, linens, kitchen items and, of course, the odds and ends that make every thrift store more interesting.

“The purpose behind Yellow Mountain Treasure Box is to provide work for our clients in terms of taking in donated items, sorting them and storing them, but it also is an important source of cash flow for us. Our funds come in periodically so it’s often hard to predict our cash flow. This has been a nice, steady income for us,” Yellow Mountain Executive Director David Tate said.

Over the past two years, the Treasure Box has seen an 81 percent growth in revenue, according to Tate. State support for Yellow Mountain Enterprises has been cut by 21 percent in the last three years, making the money earned from the store that much more important to the organization.

Since the store moved to its current location next to the courthouse in Newland, it has enjoyed a growing base of donors and shoppers.

“People donate very regularly. The more people have found out about us, the more donations we’ve gotten, including some really high quality things, some new with the tags still on them. I think the economy has spurred people to shop here, because it doesn’t make sense to go to a retail store to pay for a suit if you can come here and get one with the tags still on it of the same brand. So, I would at least encourage people to try here first. Why pay that money if you don’t have to?” store manager Becky Grogan said.

To read the complete story, please pick up a copy of your hometown newspaper, The Avery Journal-Times, available at almost 100 locations in Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain, Tenn. To subscribe to The Avery Journal-Times, please call (828) 733-0401 or click to