The Vets Returning Home Thrift Store, located at 29523 Gratiot Ave. in Roseville, includes a second level. The store offers men’s and women’s clothing, home decor, furniture, appliances, toiletries and much more.

The Vets Returning Home Thrift Store, located at 29523 Gratiot Ave. in Roseville, includes a second level. The store offers men’s and women’s clothing, home decor, furniture, appliances, toiletries and much more.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Vets Returning Home opens thrift store in Roseville

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 24, 2022


ROSEVILLE — Attention, shoppers: There is a new store in town.

On Aug. 9, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to mark the grand opening of the new Vets Returning Home Thrift Store at 29523 Gratiot Ave. The new store will help support the veterans who utilize services at the Vets Returning Home shelter located at 17955 11 Mile Road in Roseville.

A former clothing store was transformed to create the new secondhand store that sells children’s, women’s and men’s clothing; jewelry; furniture; dishware; artwork; luggage; footwear; purses; and much more. Community members donated the items now for sale at the two-level store.

Founder and Director Sandy Bower opened Vets Returning Home on 11 Mile Road nine years ago using her personal savings. The store on Gratiot Avenue and the 11 Mile Road facility are two separate buildings that will work hand in hand.

“The community needs a store like this,” said Bower. “It was a huge undertaking. The new store will generate funds and support veterans, as well as make a difference in the community.”

The 11 Mile Road Vets Returning Home facility is a nonprofit and non-government-funded organization that provides a stable and sober living environment for veterans in crisis. Volunteers operate the 11,000-square-foot facility that has 43 beds and a commercial kitchen.

Vets Returning Home has on-site services that include employment-readiness training, job placement aid, disability benefit connection, legal support and life-skills training. The organization has successfully transitioned 250 veterans back into society.

Several community members attended the grand opening, as did a number of elected officials who vocalized their support for the Vets Returning Home mission. The 11 Mile Road facility used to be an American Red Cross office and had sat empty for a long time.

“This is one thing that has been a major accomplishment for the city of Roseville. You turned it into a home for our veterans,” Roseville Mayor Robert Taylor told Bower. “Thank you for what you do for the veterans; thank you for the city of Roseville.”

Also in attendance was Big Jim O’Brien from 94.7 WCSX-FM. The radio disc jockey, who served eight years in the U.S. Navy, brought with him the not-yet-completed Ford Bronco that is the current Stone Soup Project.

The Stone Soup Project is a fundraiser in which a car is built from scratch by mechanics who volunteer their time and donors who donate car parts. Raffle tickets are sold for $10 each, and the Bronco will eventually be raffled off to a lucky winner. Money raised this year from raffle ticket sales will benefit Vets Returning Home.

Several of Bower’s family members are helping out at the thrift store, including her grandson, Giovanni Mangino, 16, who was at the grand opening earlier this month.

“I think the place looks really good,” he said.

Mangino visits the Vets Returning Home facility on a regular basis.

“I’ve met a lot of interesting and cool people,” he said.

He also sees his grandmother’s dedication to the cause.

“She’s incredible,” he said. “She helps people and works harder than anyone I’ve ever met.”

Jason White was among many Vets Returning Home volunteers who attended the grand opening. White served “a little more than one year” in the U.S. Army before receiving a medical discharge. When he left the service, White went through an adjustment period and found assistance at Vets Returning Home as he returned to civilian life.

“It helped me to open up and talk to other people around me,” said White, who has been a volunteer for about two years. “It’s nice to be able to continue to volunteer here as much as possible.”

For more information on Vets Returning Home, visit or call (586) 285-5606. Gently used or new donations for the store can be dropped off at the Vets Returning Home site at 17955 E. 11 Mile Road in Roseville.