FORT WAYNE — Fort Wayne non-profit Blue Jacket Inc. is expanding its operations with a second Thrift-style clothing store specializing in business professional clothing in the Coldwater Crossing Shopping Center at 5511B Coldwater Road, on the same side of the plaza as Hobby Lobby.

The store is open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. While the store officially opened on June 3, they are holding a Grand Opening ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 9, starting when the store opens at 10 a.m.

The 1,800 square-foot store specializes in business professional clothing: Suits, dress shirts, dress pants, dress shoes, dresses, skirts and more, all at thrift-store prices. All items in the store are the product of donations.

Both locations will accept donations during store hours. The original Blue Jacket Clothing Company location at 2826 S. Calhoun Street will remain open to customers Wednesday through Friday from 12 – 4 p.m. They will accept donations outside of its store hours at the non-profit’s main entrance between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“Blue Jacket Clothing Company has a vast assortment of business professional and business casual clothing for both men and women,” Says Angie Hallam, Clothing Store Manager. “Clothing donations are utilized, free of charge, for our participants that join the (Blue Jacket Career Academy) program. We are also open to the public and do our best to offer quality clothing at a great price.”

All proceeds from the clothing store help to fund Blue Jacket’s Career Academy, a two-week, 40-hour training program in which Blue Jacket provides job-readiness training. Following graduation from the program, Blue Jacket provides transitional jobs, job placement, and pre- and post-placement services including education, skills and interest assessments, and personal and professional development.

“We are really excited about this new location for a couple of reasons,” said Brad Saleik, Blue Jacket’s Director of Marketing. “For one, it means our professional clothing thrift concept is successful enough to branch out. But secondly, and possibly more importantly, it means that we get to let people from another audience in on the work we do here at Blue Jacket. For some out north, they may never have heard of Blue Jacket and what we do. This store will give us that opportunity."

For Fort Wayne Ink Spot managing editor Bryant Rozier, he understands the importance of the store, as it pertains to Blue Jacket’s mission. His relationship with Blue Jacket started when he walked in as a customer.

I actually experienced first-hand what a Blue Jacket jacket meant to somebody,” said Rozier. “It transformed my life in a way I couldn’t have expected. People looked at me in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. All of a sudden, I started getting compliments on how professional I looked. And I couldn’t pinpoint it to anything else but the purchase of a jacket.”