Flint, MI — Whaley Children’s Center has announced the impending closure of its downtown Flint resale boutique, Reclaimed by Whaley, effective Dec. 15, 2023. 

According to an Oct. 23 press release, “the decision is a response to the economic climate over the past couple of years and was reached after thorough consideration of the financial constraints affecting the organization, necessitating the reallocation of resources to better support Whaley’s core mission of safeguarding and nurturing the children it serves.”

The resale boutique, which gives preferred employment to current and former foster youth, has operated from its downtown location on Second Street for roughly four years, according to the release. 

Whaley president and CEO, Mindy Williams, noted the decision to close the space “was not made lightly” and thanked the community for its support for the store and its staff since Reclaimed opened.

“We can’t express just how tremendously grateful we have been for our loyal customers, donors, and community partners who have supported us throughout the years,” Williams said. “Their generous contributions have made a significant impact on the lives of countless children. It is a bittersweet transition because we will miss our downtown community and neighbors very much, but we also look forward to the future and sharing our journey as we explore new avenues to fulfill the purpose of Reclaimed by Whaley in 2024.”

In an Oct. 23 email to Flint Beat, Williams noted that Whaley is not ruling out a location change or other programming like Reclaimed later on.

“We are in the process of planning the future of the brand,” she said. “This is not a goodbye to ‘Reclaimed by Whaley.’ It’s a time for us to strategize how to make the mission of Reclaimed work best for everyone. When we opened it was pre-pandemic and many things have changed since then.”

Some of those changes include construction work on downtown Saginaw Street, which nearby restaurant The District cited as a reason for its temporary closure a little over a week ago.

A Facebook post from The District, a downtown Flint bar and restaurant, noting it will temporarily close on Oct. 15, 2023 with the “intent to reopen” in spring of 2024. The poster cites “the mass amount of construction strangling people flow” as part of the reason for the bar’s closure.

However, Williams said the decision to shutter Reclaimed went well beyond the roadwork that’s seen Second Street closed to car traffic for over a month this year.

“Multiple comprehensive factors went into the decision to close the storefront,” she said. “While the [road] project was a hindrance, it did not weigh much in the decision-making process.”

Williams said the boutique’s two full-time staff will be moved to other positions within Whaley, and the nonprofit organization will continue to work with local businesses to employ its current young people. 

She noted that Whaley includes employment readiness within its existing independent living curriculum, as well.

Reclaimed staff told Flint Beat the boutique will be hosting special events and sales as they prepare for closure. Those announcements will be made over the vintage store’s social media, where they also posted a goodbye announcement.

“We will genuinely miss our friends, neighbors, and supporters,” staff wrote. “Thank you for being more than customers – you’ve been our family.”

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....