Officials with the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio want to start selling sofas and coffee tables and recliners in order to keep giving away sofas and coffee tables and recliners.

Officials with the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio want to start selling sofas and coffee tables and recliners in order to keep giving away sofas and coffee tables and recliners.

It's called "social enterprise," and it's what nonprofit organizations have to do these days to survive, according to Steve Votaw, president of the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio.

"It's a new push in the nonprofit community," he said last week as work progressed on the social enterprise that will eventually assist this particular nonprofit to provide furniture to those in need.

A new thrift store, called Furniture With a Heart, will have a grand opening at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 15.

It's located in the former Rite Rug store and warehouse at 2165 Morse Road.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be followed by a short reception, after which the store will be open for business.

Those wishing to attend the ceremony must register online by April 12 or by calling 614-545-3833.

It was a year ago this week that officials with the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio visited a thrift store being operated in Cleveland to help that city's furniture bank with funding, according to Votaw. A committee of local board members studied similar operations around the country before deciding to settle on the model of the Cleveland Furniture Bank, he said.

After electing to go ahead with the thrift-store approach, Furniture Bank officials worked with NAI Ohio Equities to identify potential sites. The committee and personnel looked at a dozen possible spots before settling on the former carpet store.

"We fell in love with this location because it's in a commercial strip," Votaw said. "It serves our target market, which is folks who have an income level that they would buy thrift-store furniture."

Although the nonprofit organization is based on Yale Avenue in Franklinton, Votaw said a large percentage of clients live in the Northland area.

Kathy Welch will be the manager of Furniture With a Heart. She comes to the operation with a for-profit retail background.

"It's huge," she said of the new store, which was being stocked with furniture last week. "I'm not used to having so much space."

The store's hours will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Welch said. It will be closed on Sundays.

The store will initially have about a dozen employees, but that's expected to grow, she said. It will also be run by plenty of volunteers, according to Votaw, and offer volunteer opportunities for nearby residents.

At Furniture With a Heart, items too large for the normally small homes and apartments of clients and items that would fetch top dollar will be sold in order to extend the mission of the operation, according to Development Director Sarah Rooney.

That will involve less than 10 percent of the furniture donated to the furniture bank, she said.

The store will also carry some household items.

The Cleveland Furniture Bank thrift store brings in about $1 million a year, Votaw said.

"That's our goal, but not right away," he added.

For the first year of operation, officials hope Furniture With a Heart sales cover operating expenses, Votaw said.

"Then we hope that in year two, we can have a 20-percent margin," he said.

If Furniture With a Heart can begin generating $1 million a year like the thrift store in Cleveland, the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio could serve an additional 1,000 families, according to Votaw.

According to the organization's website, the The mission of the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio is to provide furniture to central Ohio families and people struggling with poverty and other "severe life challenges."

Rooney said Furniture Bank of Central Ohio officials originally hoped to have the thrift shop open by the first of the year, but then discovered that furniture sales were not permitted in the zoning for the former flooring store.

Northland Community Council development committee members voted 16-1 in December to recommend approval of a variance to permit the resale operation.