After 20 years, Working Image reopens as New Image

Refurbished facility allows nonprofit to meet more women’s needs

Posted 5/29/19

More than 20 years after it started, the freshly rechristened New Image is celebrating its grand re-opening May 30, in remodeled facilities at the Mountain View campus in Port Townsend.

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After 20 years, Working Image reopens as New Image

Refurbished facility allows nonprofit to meet more women’s needs

Posted

More than 20 years after it started, the freshly rechristened New Image is celebrating its grand re-opening May 30, in remodeled facilities at the Mountain View campus in Port Townsend.

Ruth Merryman and Anne Schneider founded the nonprofit clothing bank for women in 1998 as “Working Image.” Current leadership decided on the name change to make the service more welcoming to women in all roles, explained co-president Martha Olbrych. She said the group’s board didn’t want women to get the idea that its clothes were only for working women.

“Women who need clothes need them for all sorts of different reasons, whether they’re looking for jobs, raising children, getting divorced, escaping domestic violence or recovering from house fires,” Olbrych said. “If you’re coming to the food bank down the hall, you’re eligible to get clothes from us. If you can’t afford food, you can’t afford clothes.”

In addition to a new name, New Image has gained a new logo from Kathleen Turaski and the new slogan “Where clothes build confidence,” based on feedback from clients who told them that New Image’s outfits made them more confident, and perhaps most importantly, those ensembles are now available in a refurbished space.

“It’s made us more efficient,” Olbrych said of the remodel. “Our new shoe shelves are specially designed for shoes, and our large wall-mounted mirror replaces a rickety standup mirror. And our changing room is ADA-accessible now.”

The removal of stained carpeting in the exterior hallway to expose the concrete floors underneath has, in Olbrych’s opinion, made the whole space seem more welcoming.

One thing that hasn’t changed is New Image’s supply of clothing items, which remains as steady as ever, with donors including OlyCAP, WorkSource, Dove House and other local social service organizations.

“We’re working with the area tribes right now, and pursuing connections with immigration offices,” Olbrych said. “I went to a meeting of fire chiefs to let them know, when you have families whose homes have burned and their clothes are smoke-damaged, send them to us.”

New Image’s crew of 30 volunteers are so eager to dispense clothing and accessories, including jewelry, because in Olbrych’s words, “We literally have more clothes than we can give away.”

Indeed, while the group’s first priority is always to ensure it has enough quality outfits for its clients, unsold stock either goes to Fancy Feathers on consignment to pay the rent, to the food bank where it becomes the subject of “mini-fashion shows” in the hallway, or to the Arc to help them support the disabled.

“Everything goes somewhere,” Olbrych said.

New Image will be conducting a fashion show, with several clients serving as models, at the Port Townsend Elks Lodge Oct. 11 from 4 to 7 p.m.

And in the meantime, the public is welcome to attend New Image’s grand reopening, at its Mountain View campus location, from 4 to 7 p.m. May 30, in which Olbrych expects the food bank to be involved in some capacity.

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