BY: Allie Wydick
Tucked away about two miles East of Downtown, thrifters are pleasantly surprised when they discover All Things Right & Relevant. With friendly staff, jaw dropping prices and gift-worthy quality, the thrift store has become a popular spot. But behind the business there’s a history and a mission.
All Things Right & Relevant is more than a store, more than a job, and more than a charity—it’s a strong community and support system that has been fighting for better mental health in Yolo County for more than 30 years.
In the late 1980’s, when government funding for mental health programs began to dry up, a group of women in Davis took action.
“A lot of them had friends and family that had had mental health issues, and they did not see where a person who was going through that struggle would work in society,” Manager Lynn Okamuro told The Dirt. “So they said, ‘Well, let’s make one.’”
The group wanted to work directly with mental health clients and financially support Yolo County mental health organizations. In June 1992, they laid out their plans and R&R was born.
From the beginning, mental health clients have made up a large portion of the staff. As they keep the store running, these team members learn professional skills with the support of their managers and coworkers.
“I think oftentimes when someone presents with a mental health issue they become more isolated,” Jean Canary, personnel chair and board member since 1994, told The Dirt. “They often need time to adjust and learn to deal with people… we’re just trying to give them a place to be, a place where they feel like they fit in and that they do a good job.”
With encouragement, guidance, and new workplace experience, employees can begin to think about the future and pursue their goals.
“Whenever we get a new hire we’re always asking them, ‘What are the things you want to accomplish? And what are the things you want to work on? And what is your ultimate goal?’ Because we’re trying to help them get to that point,” Okamuro said. “Stability, I think, is one of the things that is so important because they know there is a place they can come back to.”
Canary explained that like many board members and managing staff at R&R, mental health struggles impacted her family for many years. Her sister’s challenging journey with bipolar depression ultimately led her to join the team.
“When somebody has something like that, it is a constant struggle,” Canary told The Dirt. “I felt like there isn’t much that I could do for her… but I could certainly do something that would help others in our community that have similar or the same problem.”
The store has a unique setup—one room shelves newly consigned items and the other carries donated goods. If an item sells within 30 days, consignors receive 40% of the ticket price. After that, it becomes a donation.
On the thrift side, all adult clothing is $5, but often drops to $1 on monthly sale days. The profits fund salaries, maintenance costs, and monetary contributions to a different mental health organization each month.
Board members match all donations under $300, doubling their contribution to mental health organizations. R&R currently supports eight organizations including CommuniCare Health Centers, Davis Community Meals, and Suicide Prevention & Crisis Services of Yolo County.
They also run a program called “Suit Up for Success” in partnership with the Short Term Emergency Aid Committee, which provides job seekers with affordable workwear.
As the founders of R&R thought of names for their new thrift store, Okamuro said they were inspired by a quote from a prolific local reporter, Bob Dunning.
“He wrote that Davis was the city of all things right and relevant,” she laughed. “And they said, ‘Well that’s lovely, let’s use that’.”