In 1973 Rev. Ward Stephenson, Mrs. Fred Grant and Rev. Paul Christianson proposed the idea that the churches of Winneshiek County organize and operate a nonprofit thrift store supplied with donated clothing.
The first store was located in a residential home on East Water Street but very quickly moved to the Milwaukee & St Paul Railway Combination Depot also on East Water Street in Decorah, Iowa. Thus, our name was born and the organization became incorporated as Depot Outlet, Inc.
As the organization grew, Iverson’s Funeral Home was purchased. By 1984 overcrowding once again forced a move. Depot Outlet purchased the Brickner building on Railroad Street. That building was torn down and a new one was constructed. It is worth noting that the interior was designed and built by the Army Reserves and the NICC carpentry class.
In 1984, Winneshiek County Development Services and The Sheltered Workshop, two services providing work training to disabled adults, merged to form Spectrum Industries. Spectrum Industries and Depot Outlet worked together until 2005 at which time the two organizations separated and each focused on their individual missions.
June 2013 Depot Outlet purchased the Lang’s Dairy building on Montgomery St. With the help of board members, staff, and volunteers from the member churches and community, the interior was renovated and the current location was opened on April 7, 2014.
Depot Outlet has grown over the years to 34 Christian member churches throughout Winneshiek County. Since 1973, over $2.5 million in funding has been “recycled” by Depot Outlet back to the member churches and other non-profit organizations in the county.
Volunteers were responsible for the operation of the Depot Outlet until 1984 at which time employees, along with volunteers, provided for the staffing. Today there are over 25 full and part time employees along with many volunteers responsible for the success of the Depot Outlet.
Celebrating 50 years, the Depot Outlet continues to strive each day to fulfill our mission.
This information is based on what has been provided to us. If you have additional information that you would like to share with us, please do so.
When you shop at the Depot Outlet and when you donate your gently used items you support the Depot Outlet in our mission and help to raise money for the nonprofit organizations of Winneshiek County.
Georgia Klevar, Hazel Grant, William Kuhlman, Lois Jacobson & Tony Bowlus ~ May 1975 ~ Depot Outlet Originals
510 Montgomery St, Decorah, Iowa 52101
09:00 am – 06:00 pm
The After Hours Donation Room is Open 24/7 for those who cannot donate their items during regular store hours. Check our Facebok and Instagram pages for notices on closures of the store or the After Hours Donation Room.