Thrift store owner shares inspiration behind business
Lennox’s Toy Box named for son with terminal illness
GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Lennox’s Toy Box opened on August 17, 2018, the same day its namesake turned 9 years old.
“It’s named after my son, Lennox Evan Ostendorff,” Gentry Ostendorff told FOX Carolina. “I just wanted to give his name light for as long as I can.”
Lennox died on Oct. 8, 2021.
“He survived longer than expected,” Ostendorff said.
Doctors diagnosed Lennox with a rare genetic disorder called adrenoleukodystrophy. The condition causes certain fatty acids to accumulate in the brain, causing the brain to stop functioning properly.
With help from a friend who owns a building on East North Street and others who had items to donate, Ostendorff opened a thrift store to earn a living while tending to Lennox.
“I figured if I could find those hundred-dollar items and sell a hundred-dollar item a day, then I could spend the rest of my time with him,” Ostendorff said.
Ostendorff used Facebook Marketplace showcase his merchandise and opened the shop by appointment.
“When COVID hit and everybody was trapped at home, a lot of people clearing (things) out wanted to make donations,” Ostendorff said. “To be able to deal with all this stuff, I had to charge people to come and remove everything.”
Ostendorff said he has found this to be a rewarding business because in many cases, he is helping people move on after life-changing circumstances. On occasion, he will donate his services.
“Sometimes I’m blessed enough to do that and sometimes I’m having a hard time and can’t afford to,” he said.
While August 17 marks Lennox’s birthday and the opening of Lennox’s Toy Box, it is also National Thrift Store Day.
“Unfortunately, I doubt I’ll ever be open on that day,” Ostendorff said.
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