New Flagship Out of the Closet Store Bursts on the Scene in Ft. Lauderdale

Sunrise Boulevard AIDS thrift store and state-of-the-art AHF Pharmacy will benefit HIV/AIDS patients statewide; facility—the 22nd in AHF’s award-winning chain—is first AHF store to be built from ground up, reclaiming and cleaning up the site of a former abandoned gas station. On Friday night, Mickey Rooney and AHF officials dedicated the facility in honor and memory of Elizabeth Taylor for her fearless advocacy on behalf of people with AIDS; site also features free HIV testing seven days a week.

By AIDS Healthcare Foundation
05/09/2011
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) marked the opening of its newest ‘Out of the Closet’ thrift store and AHF Pharmacy on Sunrise Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale with a grand opening Saturday May 7th. The new Sunrise Boulevard AIDS thrift store and state-of-the-art pharmacy will benefit HIV/AIDS patients statewide. The facility—the 22nd in AHF’s award-winning chain and the fourth in South Florida—also enjoys the distinction of being the first Out of the Closet store that AHF built from ground up, reclaiming and undertaking the environmental clean up of the site of a former abandoned gas station on the northwest corner of Sunrise and Federal Highway. On Friday night, Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney and AHF officials dedicated the new Out of the Closet/Sunrise facility in honor and memory of Elizabeth Taylor for her fearless advocacy on behalf of people with AIDS.

“I am extremely proud of this milestone: In building AHF’s newest ‘Out of the Closet’ thrift store and AHF Pharmacy in Ft. Lauderdale, we reclaimed and tore down an eyesore and environmental hazard, then constructed this wonderful new flagship Out of the Closet store in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. We purchased a former gas station that was abandoned and in foreclosure, cleaned up the toxic site and then designed and built this beautiful new facility to serve the community,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “I am honored to share that we have also dedicated this site in honor of our champion, Elizabeth Taylor, for her tireless work on behalf of people with AIDS. Long before it was fashionable, she was there by our side.”

On Friday night, Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney and AHF officials dedicated the new Out of the Closet/Sunrise facility in honor and memory of Elizabeth Taylor for her advocacy on behalf of people with AIDS. Rooney, who will turn 91 in September, was on hand Friday to help dedicate AHF’s new Out of the Closet and AHF Pharmacy to his lifelong friend and former co-star Elizabeth Taylor.

As part of the tribute to Taylor, AHF’s new Out of the Closet/Sunrise thrift store features an Elizabeth Taylor design theme; large classic photos and movie posters of the star—including with ‘National Velvet’ childhood co-star Rooney—will decorate the store. In addition, during the gala VIP reception Friday night, a 30 inch by 12 inch bronze plaque with a photo of Taylor and the inscription, ‘Elizabeth Taylor, Our Champion’ was unveiled.

“We are excited to open this new ‘Out of the Closet’ store, AHF Pharmacy and HIV testing site in Fort Lauderdale, something that offers the chance to make a real difference in the community,” said Michael Kahane, Bureau Chief, Southern Region for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Whether donating merchandise, using our pharmacy, shopping or getting a free HIV test, the people of Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas who utilize this facility help ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS receive the medical care and services they may need. Ninety-six cents of every dollar raised through our Sunrise store will benefit AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s prevention, treatment and education programs in Broward County and statewide.”

The new Out of the Closet/Sunrise store and AHF Pharmacy is open daily 10am to 7pm; Sundays 10am–6pm. Free HIV testing hours at the site will be Saturday & Sunday from 12-5pm / Monday – Friday 2-7pm.

“The state of Florida is third highest in the nation as far as cumulative AIDS cases, and there remains an urgent and ongoing need for effective and sustained HIV prevention and education measures,” said James Vellequette Associate Director, Public Health Division for the Southern Bureau for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “AHF is glad to be a contributing partner in the effort to address the region’s epidemic by offering free HIV testing at our new ‘Out of the Closet’ Sunrise store in this convenient, community-based setting.”

Saturday’s festive store opening will offer the chance for shoppers to be among the first to discover the unique finds and hidden treasures for which ‘Out of the Closet’ is famous. On opening day, free HIV testing was offered from 10am to 7pm in one of AHF’s free mobile HIV testing vans parked conveniently outside the store. (Note: free HIV testing hours will then be offered Saturday & Sunday from 12-5pm / Monday – Friday 2-7pm).

With twenty-one other locations throughout California and Florida, AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s popular and award winning ‘Out of the Closet’ thrift store chain is the nation’s largest retail fundraising vehicle for HIV/AIDS medical care and research. The new Ft. Lauderdale location is the fourth ‘Out of the Closet’ to open in Florida; other Florida stores are in Wilton Manors, Biscayne Boulevard in Miami and Alton Road in South Beach). This site will also be home to the newest AHF Pharmacy, a full-service facility staffed with pharmacists who specialize in HIV/AIDS medications (as well as general pharmacy services), providing clients with access to the additional specialists, medications and services they need to be as healthy as possible.

Click here to view the photo gallery from the event.

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