COLUMBUS, OHIO (January 24, 2013) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, January 24th to commemorate the beginning of construction of its newest all-in-one facility—an Out of the Closet Thrift Store, AHF Pharmacy and HIV testing site—in the hip, Short North district of Columbus, (1230 N. High St., on the corner of N. High and 5th Ave.). The facility, to open in early summer, will also serve as a hub for the organization’s advocacy in the region and will join the newest AHF Healthcare Center—which opened earlier this month in Columbus—in providing high-quality HIV/AIDS services to the community, regardless of ability to pay.
In honor of the signature colors of all Out of the Closet Thrift Stores (pink and teal) supporters in attendance will be wearing pink hard-hats & t-shirts, and breaking through pink ground (that’s been spray-painted) with a pink back-hoe, all to help celebrate the services this new facility will provide to the community.
“We are tickled pink to be breaking ground on this new facility, which we know will be a grand and beautiful addition to the Short North neighborhood providing important services to the area,” said Jonathan Kreuyer, General Manager of Out of the Closet Thrift Stores. “This popular and award-winning thrift store chain is well known both for its colorful exterior and its great thrift store finds, all benefiting AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Ninety-six cents of every dollar earned will go towards providing free HIV/AIDS care to those in need.”
With twenty-two other locations in California, Florida and New York—and one in Amsterdam—AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Out of the Closet Thrift Store chain is the nation’s largest retail fundraising vehicle for HIV/AIDS medical care. This newest facility enjoys the distinction of being only the second Out of the Closet store that AHF has built from ground up. The first is in Ft. Lauderdale – upon which this newest site will be modeled.
This site will also offer free HIV testing services and be home to the newest AHF Pharmacy. With thirty-three locations nationwide, AHF Pharmacy is 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. The Columbus location will be staffed by sisters Kate Wilder Adams and Maureen Wilder Koeppen—a pharmacist and pharmacy specialist, respectively—formerly of The Wilder Pharmacy, recently acquired by AHF. Former clients of The Wilder Pharmacy can expect the same impeccable service from the same trusted pharmacy staff, now under the auspices of AHF Pharmacy.
“We are simply pink with pride at the thought of beginning construction on this newest facility that we hope will show the neighborhood the power of pink to make a positive impact in Columbus,“ said Adam Ouderkirk, AHF’s Interim Senior Director of Business Development. “We know this facility will be a great fit for this neighborhood and we are so glad to be a part of it. Community members will soon be able to support AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s work and people living with HIV/AIDS—in Ohio and elsewhere—by donating merchandise, using the in-store pharmacy, shopping or simply donating funds.”
In addition to the thrift store, pharmacy and testing center, an AHF Healthcare Center recently opened in the area at 815 W. Broad St., Suite 350, providing cutting-edge medicine, regardless of a person’s ability to pay. Currently, there are nineteen AHF Healthcare Centers in California, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Washington D.C. that provide advanced medical care designed specifically for HIV-positive clients.
“It is an exciting day for us at AIDS Healthcare Foundation since this groundbreaking marks the beginning of construction on our first three-in-one thrift store, pharmacy and HIV testing site in the mid-west—one that we hope will help keep Ohioans ‘in the pink,’” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation in a statement from Los Angeles, California where AIDS Healthcare Foundation is headquartered. “It seems especially important to be opening this facility in Ohio, which became ground zero for many AIDS activists this past year when the state government took steps to diminish access to lifesaving medications in order to save money. We hope this new site will be a hub of AIDS activism and social action on important policy issues that continue to affect Ohioans living with HIV/AIDS.”