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Margins Charity Thrift and Variety Mall a Truly Social Enterprise

This week's Business Spotlight focuses on an upscale thrift store that offers "something for everyone that anyone can afford."

Mark Galloway-Stillions, owner of Margins Charity Thrift and Variety Mall, is a retired interior designer who worked for years at Haverty Furniture.

Of all things, a garage sale inspired him to start the store. Because of his fantastic taste and eye for design, people were drawn to his garage sales again and again. So, he decided to rent a small space in Lawrenceville, followed by one in Decatur.

But Mark has more than just a passion for design – his goal in life and business is to make the world a better place, right here in Snellville.

Last year, Mark and his partner sponsored 17 homeless families during the Christmas holidays. They invited them into their home on Christmas Eve and day, and made sure the children had presents, food and a warm bed.

“I thought to myself, this is so sad,” he said, “because Christmas should last all year long, not just during the holidays.”

So he prayed, telling God his desire to simply do good in his community. Shortly after that, they found out that Walmart was coming to Decatur and could potentially close them down. They began the search for a new place.

As he was driving down Highway 78 in Snellville, he glanced to the side and saw that the space formerly occupied by American Signature Furniture, in the New London Plaza, was for lease. He called the agent, and by the second traffic light had made an offer. 

Now, aside from having “something for everyone that anyone can afford,” the store has a monthly charity that benefits from the sales. This month’s beneficiary is the Wounded Warriors Project. They are also collecting funds for local food pantries.

As another example of Mark’s desire to make the community a better place, he offered New London Theatre a home inside the thrift store when he heard of their plight. Mark’s partner is on the Board of Directors for the Theatre, and when they discussed the financial difficulties the theatre was facing, he generously offered 6,000 square feet of the store.

According to Mark, the theatre has increased its audience since the move. He personally even joined in one of the plays, the Rocky Horror Show, in which he delivered a powerful performance as Dr. Frank N. Furter.

Margins Thrift -- part of Margins Retail, the umbrella group for the thrift store, charity and other subsidiaries -- has 114 separate vendors. Each offers a little something different, ranging from things like jewelry and clothes to furniture.

“We try to make it look more like an upscale department store,” Mark said.

He’s very picky about who comes in and how things look. You would be hard pressed to find dust, a dirty restroom or a dirty carpet.

Besides the vendors, the store has a staff of seven, a feat that is “huge for today’s times,” according to Mark. He personally does a little bit of everything, but his primary responsibility is to ensure that his standard of quality is upheld.

As a Snellville resident of many years, Mark’s primary goal is to offer upscale shopping at “normal people prices.”

“I think we’ve pulled it off,” he said.

You can visit Margins Thrift at 2338 Henry Clower Boulevard, or visit their Facebook page

For further reading

  • Business Spotlight: Eagle Sportschairs
  • Business Spotlight: Wallpaper Your World
  • Business Spotlight: Serenity Falls Watergardens
  • Business Spotlight: Trinity Culinary Institute
  • Business Spotlight: About Face Skin Care
  • Local Man Sets His Sights on Establishing Brewery
  • Business Spotlight: Japanese Swordsmanship of Gwinnett
Denna Millard December 13, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Oh, how informative. I did not know this store existed. Definitely like your concept. Thanks for sharing.
Crystal Huskey December 13, 2012 at 02:56 PM
It's a great place!
Kelly Trotter December 13, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Yes!! Margins is a great place to visit!! My daughter and I (hubby too), love the world of "Thrifting". Happened to be out on a Saturday afternoon, and stopped at Margins. Fell in love with the upscale look, cleanliness, and all of the fascniating, great re-sells. It's NOTHING like your normal thrift store. Needless to say, I became a vendor...and so glad we did! Come by and visit!! You'll be glad you did. (by the way, my booth space is #372, "ShugaFoot's & Lucy's Korner ", selling home decore & more! ~kelly T.
Jeremiah Chandler December 14, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Looking forward to visiting the store and seeing a play at the theatre in there. Wonderful to see Mark and his partner doing so much for Snellville and the community. Thanks for posting the article!

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