Hooves & Hearts Thrift Store Gives Back to Community

Troy Terwillegar was inspired by Wilma Odell’s lifelong dream to be a foster mother. Though that dream never came to fruition, Terwillegar found a way to celebrate her loving and giving nature, 

“She’s always had a heart for children with Down syndrome,” Terwillegar says of Odell. Working closely with Michigan State University (MSU), Terwillegar was able to create a special needs 4-H group for Odell’s birthday present. 

The group, named Hooves and Hearts, donates to local families that have children with Down syndrome, financial burdens, and other special needs. Earlier this month, the group expanded to include a brand-new thrift store. Terwillegar is the  treasurer and owner and Wilma Odell is a partner and CEO. They opened the store’s doors on March 1. It’s located on Isabella Street (M-20), about 3 miles west of downtown Midland.
Hooves & Hearts is located on Isabella Street (M-20), 3 miles west of downtown Midland.
Before the store, the partners purchased 33 storage units full of possessions from all over the state, and then sold items on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and in yard sales. Terwillegar says their 60’x 80’ horse barn, 2.5 car garage, and upstairs bedrooms were full of items. “We accumulated more than we could ever possibly sell,” he says. “Then we started talking about finding a store and tying it to 4-H, and children with special needs.”

After the 9,600-square-foot store, a former Dollar General, became available, Hooves & Hearts opened, stocked with shelves of merchandise from the storage units. Terwillegar says the mission is to give back and support 4-H groups and children with special needs. “That falls all the way into the categories of children at the juvenile center that ran into a roadblock, made a wrong decision,” he says. “We really want to change the lives of kids. We want them to know that just because something bad happened, doesn’t mean that’s where you stay in life. There’s more to life than what has happened.”

The day before opening, when volunteers were still painting and getting the space ready, Terwillegar says multiple people stopped in asking about the new store. Since then, word of mouth advertising, Facebook reviews, and heavy traffic on M-20 between Mt. Pleasant and Midland have made for a busy month of sales. 

“We run sales all the time because we need to move the stuff,” he says, to keep inventory fresh for customers. From March 23 through March 26, all items in the store are half-off the regular price. 

“All of our clothes that go out on the floor are washed and hung up. We don’t put dirty stuff out there, and that is a huge attraction to the population,” Terwillegar says. 
Donations are accepted during business hours.
Donations are accepted during business hours. Currently, the store runs on volunteers, but they are hoping to switch to paid staff soon.. Terwillegar says the community support thus far has been unbelievable. 

“Church volunteers painted 75% of the store in just an hour and a half,” he says. “Local residents are stopping in, asking if there’s something they can do, like sort clothes. That happens on a daily basis.”

The store features items ranging from baby items starting at $0.99, womens clothes and shoes, mens jeans from $5.99 to $7.99, furniture, home goods, toys, books, CDs, and more. 

“Everybody keeps saying, ‘we’re bringing our donations here, because you’re helping Midland,’ and that’s one of the biggest remarks we get from people we see in the store,” Terwillegar says. In the future, the store hopes to turn the back bay into a project room, inviting children and 4-H groups to redo furniture, sell them and keep the proceeds for their organizations, bake sales, and sewing club projects. 

The store is open from Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.Terwillegar also hopes to work in tandem with the Midland County Sheriff’s Department, inviting young adults in the juvenile care center. “We want to offer them jobs where they can come and work, make money, and have a feeling of self-worth. That’s one of our big goals we want to do,” he says. 

Hooves and Hearts Thrift Store is located at 3939 Isabella Street, and is open from Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at spohn9@gmail.com.