Vapor Thrift Store open and ready to help

Published 9:50 pm Wednesday, August 5, 2020

By BAKER ELLIS | Special to the Reporter

NORTH SHELBY – As people and families continue to make adjustments to everyday life in a post-COVID world, the business community has been forced to do the same.

Businesses across Shelby County and the state have been making necessary and often rapid-fire decisions in order to remain viable, while also ensuring they comply with local, state and federal health and wellness guidelines as well.

For private citizens and schools, as well as small and large local businesses, the last few months have posed challenging questions related to maintaining a level of normalcy in the face of incredibly abnormal circumstances.

One such business making these attempts on a daily business is Vapor Thrift Store, with locations in North Shelby County off U.S. 280 and in Vestavia Hills off U.S. 31.

Like the majority of businesses in the Birmingham area, both thrift stores were forced to close for approximately six weeks in March and April as a precautionary measure, during which time all employees were furloughed and no donations were accepted.

“Like most of the businesses in this area, we shuttered both of our thrift stores earlier this spring in the face of shrinking revenues and the very real threat this virus posed,” said Josh Firth, Vapor Ministries’ Vice President of US Profit Centers. “However, we used the interim to make a number of significant upgrades to our Greystone store on Highway 280, and since reopening in May have been able to provide a much-enhanced shopping experience for our customers.”

Vapor Thrift Stores specialize in selling donated goods for low prices, and act as the single-largest donor to Vapor Ministries, a nonprofit organization based out of Sylacauga that owns and operates sustainable centers in third-world environments all across the globe.

Vapor Ministries exist to meet needs, feed souls and elevate God, and generates a significant portion of its revenue through the two thrift stores in the Birmingham area.

“The work that we are able to accomplish in places like Kenya, Haiti and Togo is thanks, in large part, to the people who shop and donate at our thrift centers,” said Sommer L’Hoste, Vice President of Marketing. “We have a phenomenal customer base, and really do consider our customers to be heroes. Without them, we would not be able to accomplish the important work we are able to complete overseas.”

Both thrift stores reopened May 1 and have been operational since. Both are open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Donations are also accepted in the same window of time. For more information, please visit