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A new store, a different job, a perfect fit for Abby

One of the first things customers will experience when they step into Tried & True is a warm, friendly greeting from employee Abby Howell. If you need help locating items, she’s eager to assist, and she’s among the first to wish you a good day once you check out.

Abby is only one employee at Tried & True, but she is a unique and valuable asset to Opportunity Village’s third and newest resale store located inside Mason City’s Willowbrook Mall, which opened May 26.

Abby, who has received support from Opportunity Village for several years, lives in Mason City. Previously, she worked as part of a sheltered work crew responsible for cleaning parts of Opportunity Village’s Clear Lake campus, including the Children’s Autism Center and the Kinney Lindstrom Center.

Earlier this year, she received job training through North Iowa Vocational Center, which gave her experience working in settings including a hospital and senior living facility. Remembering Abby’s work ethic and personality, Village staff immediately thought of her when a job opening was available at Tried & True, said Michael Mahaffey, chief development officer at the Village.

Abby went through the process to land her job just like any employee — she filled out an application and had an interview with District Store Manager Elin Miner. She was hired almost immediately following her interview.

Abby’s first day at Tried & True was June 6. She works 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. She helps a bit with the cleaning when she first gets in, then she assists with customers, helps hang clothes on the racks, and keeps the store neat and organized. She’s also willing to help out during special events, like the store’s grand opening and Red Carpet Fashion Show (she was a model in the fashion show!)

Her favorite part about her job is running the cash register and talking with the customers.

“She is friendly, helpful, and always greets people,” said Christina Blum, manager of Tried & True. “If she needs help, she asks, but she’s awesome at this.”

Abby’s job gives her a sense of value and worth, Christina said. “To feel that... she deserves the same opportunities as the rest of us. She will excel here, because she was given this chance.”