In its first in-person event in three years, the Oak Park-River Forest Day Nursery is honoring the Economy Shop by awarding the organization with its Rocking Horse Award.

The award goes to an individual or organization that has been of significant value to the non-profit daycare center. 

“And this year, the feeling was that the Economy Shop has benefited multiple organizations including the Day Nursery, and that itself should be recognized,” said Nancy Clark, Day Nursery hosting committee member and former Day Nursery board member.

The award will be formally presented during the Day Nursery’s “Corks and Conversations” fundraising event on May 11 at Trattoria 225, 255 Harrison St. Wednesday Journal has reached out to Lisa Sorensen, Economy Shop president, for comment. 

This is the first time the Day Nursery has honored the Economy Shop with the Rocking Horse Award, but the two organization have shared a partnership for over a century. A non-profit thrift store, the Economy Shop was established in 1919 by a group of local women who wished to benefit local charities through the sale of donated furnishings, clothing and other items. 

The Day Nursery, founded in 1912, was one of the five original beneficiaries of the Economy Shop and remains a beneficiary to this day.

“It’s a wonderful example of the general community doing quiet good that maybe isn’t as well recognized as it should be,” said Clark.

Economy Shop

The way the Economy Shop operates is unique compared to other charity resale shops. The organizations that the Economy Shop benefits each have a designated room in the shop itself, which is a three-floor home at 103 S. Grove Ave. that the Economy Shop purchased in 1924. Each beneficiary organization is tasked with voluntarily staffing their room during sales, of which there are about 30 a year. Regardless of which room makes the most sales, each beneficiary organization receives the same percentage of the proceeds. 

Clark began volunteering with the Economy Shop by working in the Day Nursery’s room, after she completed her service as a member of the nursery’s board. She now serves as the chair of the Day Nursery’s Economy Shop room, making her a board member of the Economy Shop. 

Both the Day Nursery and the Economy Shop have persevered through some of the country’s toughest periods, from the Great Depression to the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown and the subsequent months of safety restrictions. When the shop couldn’t hold any sales due to the restrictions, the Economy Shop still helped its beneficiaries by dipping into its reserves to provide grants. For its many years of service to the nursery and several other local organizations, Clark is thrilled the Economy Shop will be honored with the Rocking Horse Award.

“The Economy Shop is a special resource within the broader community and well deserving of the Day Nursery’s 2023 Rocking Horse Award,” she said.

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