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Sweat equity

Marilyn Nohl cleans a shelf in the new building for The Hancock Clothing Bank. Rae Yost photos/Hancock Record1 / 3
The building that previously housed The Hancock Clothing Bank. The building did not have heat or a restroom and had three light bulbs. Rae Yost/Hancock Record2 / 3
June Messner works on the bottom shelf of a unit. Rae Yost/Hancock Record3 / 3

Sixth Street may have looked this way when the grocery store was open. A row of vehicles parked at an angle sat on Sixth Street in Hancock on the morning of March 14.

The vehicles, many of them red and most of them sport utility vehicles or crossovers, were parked in front of the former Lawrence Market. The drivers were inside the building, not shopping in the old grocery store, but they were cleaning.

The building is the new location of The Hancock Clothing Bank. The building needs some sprucing up before The Hancock Clothing Bank opens this spring. The store sells used clothing and donates the revenue to local charities.

June Messner and Marilyn Nohl joked that they made a sacrifice to clean on March 14. They left their housework at home.

"There's a lot that I could be doing at home," Messner said as she wiped a wet cloth over an old grocery shelf.

But working with friends is much more fun, Messner said.

Nohl agreed as she cleaned an end of the same long shelf. "My house isn't this dirty," Nohl said.

"That's debatable," Messner said of her own house.

The two erupted in a laugh

"I'm having loads of fun," Nohl said.

While those two women cleaned a shelf, Betty Gillespie was cleaning a different shelf. Joanna Rustad was putting protective tape around a window to protect it when the wall would be painted.

Marcia Greiner and Della Conroy were wallpapering and Susie Haugen was cleaning a different shelf.

"This is pretty much a different crew than we had (March 13)," Conroy said.

Greiner estimated about a dozen people have been helping clean the building.

"Today is the first day I've worked cleaning," Haugen said.

She's excited about the new building for The Hancock Clothing Bank. The store will be moving from a smaller building that had no water or heat. It had only three light bulbs hanging from the ceiling.

"It's pretty awesome that we're getting a new building and the community is helping out getting it ready," Haugen said.

Just then, Messner walked over with a bucket of dirty water. Where does the dirty water go? Messner asked.

"Throw the water down the toilet," Haugen said. She couldn't have said that in the old building. "There's a bathroom in here," she said.

"There's even a sink in there," Messner said.

The Hancock Clothing Bank volunteers can use the new building owned by Mark Leighton. Leighton owns the building that previously housed the store. Conroy said Leighton had offered the new building to the volunteers several times but needed repairs to the floor and other work prevented the move. That changed when Conroy's son and family business employee offered to do the carpenter work, she said.

More volunteers have been turning out buoyed by the prospect of a new, bigger location and the hope the new site will provide more opportunities to shoppers, possibly even a year-round store.

Cleaning continued during the morning of March 14 as Nohl tackled a smaller front window. "Man this is dirty," Nohl said of the window.

She had joked earlier about getting paid for the work. Rustad said the payment wasn't formal but volunteers would get treats. Rustad had received a $250 grant from Thrivent and the volunteers are using that for cleaning supplies and treats for volunteers.

Nohl did find a penny while cleaning. Rustad added that to the collection of found coins which totalled 26 cents that morning.

Cleaning and other work continues at the building on Monday and Tuesday mornings, March 20 and 21. Conroy said more volunteers are welcome and could contact her if they were interested.