Photos by Arturo Corral
Proceeds from a new Montrose resale shop benefit people living with HIV and AIDS.
Out of the Closet, a thrift-store chain operated by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), opened on August 24 at 1435 Westheimer Road. According to Out of the Closet’s national general manager, Jonathan Kreuyer, 96 cents from every dollar made at the stores goes toward covering medical costs at the agency’s 450 clinics around the world.
“There is a need for these services here in Houston,” Kreuyer says. “We opened a store in the city to increase access to treatment for people who are affected by HIV.”
In recent years, Space City has ranked eleventh nationwide (and first in Texas) in the rate of newly diagnosed HIV cases. Over 1,000 Houstonians were diagnosed with HIV in 2017, according to the latest HIV Surveillance Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In addition to reselling clothing, furniture, books, and more, Out of the Closet Houston offers free STD testing and features an on-site pharmacy. If a visitor does not have health insurance, employees are trained to assist them in finding affordable prescriptions. “Our mission is to make sure that people do not go without the medications they need,” Kreuyer says.
Kreuyer also notes that many folks are unaware that pharmacies located inside of Out of the Closet stores are full-service and can be used by anyone. “Most people believe that our pharmacies are only for HIV patients, and that we only dispense HIV drugs,” he says. “That is not true. We can fill all types of prescriptions.”
Out of the Closet Houston is accepting donations now. Small items, such as clothing, can be dropped off when the store is open (any day of the week between 10 a.m and 7 p.m.), and large items, like furniture, can be picked up by an Out of the Closet driver upon request.
Kreuyer says that management for the Houston thrift store has already been selected, but it is still in need of cashiers and drivers. Those looking to apply for positions can visit careers-aidshealth.icims.com.
Out of the Closet was founded by AHF president and co-founder Michael Weinstein, who opened the chain’s first location in Atwater Village, California, in 1990. The Houston store marks the 21st Out of the Closet location in the U.S.
Watch video footage from the store’s grand opening below.