Out of the Closet
Out of the Closet is a nonprofit chain of thrift stores whose revenues provide medical care for patients with HIV/AIDS. The chain is owned and operated by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a Los Angeles-based charity that provides medical, preventive, and educational resources for patients. AHF is the nation's largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare, research, prevention, and education provider. Out of the Closet thrift stores generate income to help fund the medical services AHF provides for those patients who are unable to pay. Proceeds from Out of the Closet Thrift Stores directly benefit AHF.
BackgroundOut Of The Closet was founded by AHF president and co-founder Michael Weinstein, whose retail experience stemmed from his family's furniture business on the East Coast. He opened the first Out Of The Closet in Atwater Village in 1990.
In addition to Out of the Closet's retail activities, the stores provide customers with a variety of opportunities to donate to charity.
The store's merchandise comes directly from donations, and therefore the store's revenues are directly reliant upon neighborhood charity. Merchandise sold includes adult clothing, consumer electronics, furniture, bric-a-brac, jewelry, handbags, shoes, and books.
There are now 13 Out of the Closet locations throughout Southern California, four locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, and four locations in South Florida (two in Miami and two in Fort Lauderdale). The 'Out of the Closet' name has been federally trademarked by AHF since 1997.
In addition to regular thrift store operations, several stores also offer additional services, including free rapid STD and HIV testing on a walk-in basis, along with counseling in a separate location of the store.