The Wearhouse Gets a Fresh Look

By Nicole Herron, Wearhouse Manager

Youth in foster care often enter the system with very little. Sometimes, they are able to bring a few personal items with them to their next placement. Other times, they arrive with just the clothing on their backs.

The Wearhouse, Treehouse’s free store for youth in foster care in the Rainier Valley, has been a critical resource for foster families in King County for the past 13 years. Each year, more than one million dollars’ worth of donated goods have passed through our humble doors and into the homes of kids in foster care—essentials like clothing and school supplies and normal childhood items like bikes, toys, and books.

After many years of serving our community, the Wearhouse has received an impressive makeover. We wanted our store to look and feel like a real department store, especially for our older teen shoppers. With the support of hundreds of skilled volunteers, sponsors, and partners, we’ve made some truly amazing updates and improvements to our store:

Lobby Redesign:

  • To ensure client privacy, we installed frosted glass in our lobby
  • We added a separate check-in area to improve communication with clients coming to shop
  • A new resource desk was installed to help our clients find additional support in the community

Retail Space Updates:

  • We removed all fixtures, furniture, and carpeting and replaced it with new, safe, and easy-to-maintain materials
  • Our updated floor plan allows us to have 30% more inventory available to our shoppers
  • New department and sizing signs help clients find what they need faster
  • We installed new lighting to increase store safety
  • Clients can now shop with ease using a Treehouse branded shopping cart
  • New paint and wall treatments make our store fun and inviting
  • We revamped our checkout desk to help with flow and to support clients with mobility impairments
  • Now there is comfortable seating for caregivers when kids try on clothes


Storage Improvements

  • We added storage areas for organizing equipment and out of season inventory
  • An updated organization system means safe and durable equipment for volunteers and a more intuitive shopping space for clients

I can already see a difference in our shopper’s faces as they spend time in our fresh space—their shopping trips are now more efficient, effective, and enjoyable:

“Absolutely love the Treehouse Wearhouse and the improvements that have been made! It gives my kids so much joy.” – Caregiver Kathy

“Being a foster parent comes with many ups and downs but the Treehouse Wearhouse is always an up! Thanks guys, for keeping us in mind when renovating the space” –  Caregiver Marquita

I can’t express how thankful we are to our sponsors, planning, construction, and visual merchandising volunteer teams who dedicated their time, talents, and resources to transforming our store. Thank you for helping youth in foster care access the items they need to succeed.

Our Sponsors: Mark Torrance Foundation, D.V. & Ida J. McEachern Charitable Trust, Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation, Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound, Associated General Contractors of Washington – Future Leadership Forum, KPMG, Christian Faith Center, Washington Laborers-Employee Cooperation and Education Team, Thistledown, and Joe Simmons Construction.

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About the Author

As the Manager of Treehouse’s Wearhouse, Nicole Herron makes sure Treehouse’s free store is a place where youth can find the essential items they need to feel confident and successful in school.  In order for the Wearhouse to distribute more than a million dollars of donated items to families in King County each year, Nicole leads a team of Treehouse staff and dedicated volunteers.

Comments (2)

Kathleen Steele

March 15, 2017

WOW, remarkable. From the pictures had I not saw the well branded Treehouse logo on the wall and on the shopping carts, I wouldn’t have known this wasn’t the children’s department at any retail store. It’s functional, yet comfortable. I love the book area, as I’m an avid reader I could sit there and read all day; also the display of shoes/boots. It will make selecting a pair easier.

Treehouse is an organization that goes above and beyond in making life equitable for Foster Children and their families. I’m intentional when I spread the news to my friends, family and coworkers to stop and take a good look at Treehouse for their charitable giving of time, talent and finances!!!

I’m thrilled to be a supporter!!!


Jackie Hopkins

March 15, 2017

Wow! What an improvement! Treehouse has gone above and beyond making a shopping experience fun and enjoyable. As a caregiver, it means a lot to have an organized and bright environment for foster youth and their families! I’m happy to show my appreciation by giving back and donating to this wonderful organization. Thanks for all you do!
Jackie, Caregiver


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