June 11, 2019 marks the 35th anniversary of Southern Lakes Area Love, Inc. opening its doors for business as a non-profit resource center. It started as a dream and through the support of the Burlington community to give individuals and families facing hardship dignified means to assistance. Our mission from the beginning was to connect those needing help with available resources. Thankfully, with the support of volunteers, community partners, store patrons, business collaborations and generous donors throughout the years, Love, Inc. has been able to harness the time and talent needed to keep our organization a valuable source of programs and services for those in need. We’ve also been able to provide the community with Love, Inc. Thrift Stores which provide a vital stream of funding for the services we provide and a money saving choice for area shoppers.

As we celebrate 35 years of heartwarming stories and moments in time that made a difference in the lives of those we’ve helped, we also recognize the organizational growth needed to meet the ongoing needs of the community. Here are a few highlights in our history.

1983 – December 13th is the date of the first Southern Lakes Area Love, Inc. incorporation. Jim Smith was the first Board President.

1988 – Love, Inc. separately incorporates from the national organization, becoming a completely local agency.

1996 – After several moves and office locations in Burlington, the building at 480 S. Pine Street (a former warehouse grocery) was purchased for Love, Inc.

1997 – The Love, Inc. Thrift Store opens for operation on the purchased site which also includes assistance offices and a donation center. Area churches begin the evening Meal Site program.

2003 – TLC (Transitional Living Center) begins renovation of the second floor in the Love, Inc. Building for use as a temporary shelter for the homeless.

2004 – The Love, Inc. Donation Center moves from the main building on 480 S. Pine Street in Burlington to a rented building a few doors down at 454 S. Pine. St. Thrift Store retail space expands into the former donation collection area.

2005 – Love, Inc. opens a separate Furniture Store at 448 South Pine Street. “Twice as Nice” was the name chosen by contest for the new store.

2006 – Love, Inc. ventures outside Burlington to open a community thrift store in Waterford. The “Unique Boutique” is in the heart of historic downtown Waterford.

2007 – “Teachers Love” Program was introduced as a way for teachers in the Burlington and Waterford areas to partner with Love, Inc. to provide school supplies, food and clothing to students in need.

2008 – Love, Inc. opens the “Love Kids” store at 442 S. Pine St. The move to a separate child-centered store allowed a greater selection of donated kid’s clothing & accessories for the public along with generating more revenue to help support many of the community family programs offered through Love, Inc.

2010 – Love, Inc. announces the opening of their new Book Store at 446 South Pine Street. In addition to books the new store area also sold artwork, frames, cards, CDs, records, tapes, music, magazines, puzzles, DVDs and videos.

2012 – Food pantry renovation includes an improved floor plan, waiting area, new freezer and a private office.

2012 – The Love, Inc. Kids Store relocates to 466 South Pine St. next to the main thrift store.

2013 – Love, Inc. helps those affected by Echo Lake Foods Fire.

2016 – Love, Inc. Kids Store renovation expands retail area in a former storage space in the back of the store. The reorganizing project opens more area for the sale of children’s toys, games, sports equipment, electronics, dolls, and other accessories.

2017 – Love, Inc. assists families affected by unprecedented flooding in the area.

2018 – The Love, Inc. Home Thrift Store and Donation Center opens in downtown Burlington. The new store includes furniture, books, hardware, home furnishings and other miscellaneous items. The main thrift store at 408 S. Pine St. becomes the Love, Inc. Clothing & Linen Shop