Philly AIDS Thrift marries business with activism

"We're longtime AIDS activists and we're lovers of junk," co-founder Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou says of Philly AIDS Thrift. "We put the two together, and this is what we came up with."

From the outside looking in, customers can see a thrift store full of clothing, art and home decor. But all it takes is one visit to figure out it's anything but ordinary.

Kallas-Saritsoglou says donors, customers, staff and volunteers make a big difference. To date, the store has raised nearly $2 million in cash contributions.

Outside staff and operating costs, the store distributes the earnings to the AIDS Fund. The AIDS Fund then relays money to 29 AIDS agencies in the five-county Philadelphia region.

The store's efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS took a new turn when it decided to create an HIV test center in the store itself.

Customers may walk into the store looking for a new pair of jeans or piece of furniture, but they may walk out with HIV test results. The test takes only a matter of minutes, and it's free of charge.

Interested in donating or volunteering? Check out Philly AIDS Thrift for details.