The history of the Twin Cities’ best thrift store: Arc’s Value Village


We all love Arc’s Value Village for its affordable prices, collectibles, the best vintage, and thrifty items! But did you know Arc’s Value Village is a part of the non-profit, The Arc Minnesota? Arc’s Value Village plays a huge role in human and civil rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  

Please note: This blog contains language that is now considered a slur. It is important to acknowledge that part of our history, and how we continue to change with the world around us. 

The History of The Arc Minnesota

In 1950, the first gathering of parents of children with IDD takes place in Minneapolis. These parents wanted a better life for their children that kept them in their communities, rather than raised in institutions. This group lead to a new organization, ARC.

By 1955, the Minnesota Association for Retarded Children (ARC) was incorporated to coordinate local, state, regional, and national initiatives and provide leadership in government affairs. Eventually, ARC became a national organization, now known as The Arc of the US. There are many chapters of The Arc across the country. 

The work continues on

ARC members work hard to pass laws that mandate special education for students, provide funding for teacher training, establish day activity center services, fund prenatal care services for high-risk women, and support research into the causes of IDD. 

The ARC played a key role in Welsch Consent Decree, by providing opportunities for people with disabilities to move from state institutions to live in the community, in 1980.  

In 1990, ARC stops using the name “Association for Retarded Citizens” out of concern about the label “retarded” and changes the name from ARC to Arc. The Arc is now used as a noun and not as an acronym.  

The connection between Arc’s Value Village and The Arc Minnesota

In 1982 Arc’s Value Village Thrift Store opened in Richfield to provide funding for The Arc Minnesota. By 2011, more Arc’s Value Village locations were opened and Arc’s Value Village celebrated 1 million hours of volunteer service since the first store opened in 1982. 

Since then, Arc’s Value Village has provided over $26 million. For more than 40 years, thanks to shoppers, donors, and volunteers, Arc’s Value Village has helped improve life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.  

Through public policy and programming, The Arc Minnesota and Arc’s Value Village work together toward the goal—a future where people with disabilities live a life they choose with hope, confidence, and belonging. As Arc’s Value Village grows, so does the community impact.