Beanstalk Foundation

What's right with Colorado is right next door.

Mike Mazzola

In the Business of Charity
Mike Mazzola pioneers a unique social enterprise that shifts a familiar business model

Colorado Springs businessman Mike Mazzola already has a successful store on his hands with Mountain Equipment Recyclers. He makes outdoor and sporting equipment available on consignment, ensuring that in Colorado, no skis, boots, boards, tents or crampons go to waste. It wasn’t the money that attracted Mike to his first business. It was the reusing economy, and the potential to prevent a lot of waste while making amazing outdoor experiences a little more affordable for families. Mountain Equipment Recyclers has even donated more than $70,000 since they opened.

Recently--while still running Mountain Equipment Recyclers--Mike decided to shift some of his business focus and pioneering spirit toward an even more ambitious rethink of retail. Knowing what he’s been able to do with “recycling” sporting goods, he wondered if there were a way to give back, while keeping useable stuff out of the landfills. That’s how he came up with Shift Thrift. Mike figured that the beauty of a traditional thrift store was obvious, donated clothing moves along to the next person who will wear it and make memories in it. But, what if some of the profits from selling those used articles of clothing were given back, directly to nonprofits in the Colorado Springs community? It’s a big idea, that also just makes sense.
Mike is deeply connected to the Colorado Springs community and works with many great nonprofits there. He believes that Shift Thrift can change the way we think about charity entirely.
“There are a lot of young families in Colorado Springs who rely on thrift stores to live affordably. They care about their community, but they don’t always have money to give away. What we do is help them do good while living within their means. We share 30% of our sales with local nonprofits so every purchase is also a donation.”
Mike Mazzola hopes to bring every charity in Colorado Springs into Shift Thrift, so that his store can give opportunities to people on a budget, chic renewable shoppers and nonprofits for years to come. He’s investing in the business of the future, one that’s about making money and making impacts, by promoting a greener, thought-shifted community.
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