Brendan Brooks hopes his new business will be a resource for those who need help in the community.
Tomah Resource, a resale store, opened on Dec. 1 at the site of the former Tomah Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Bargain Corner, exactly one month after the latter closed its doors.
Brooks and his wife, Sarah, have owned the building for years, running Brookside Bridal at the location before renting and sharing the space with the ABC Store since 2014.
Opening Tomah Resource has been 1 ½ years in the making, Brooks said. He could see the end was nearing for the ABC Store and wanted to make sure there would be a business to fill the hole in the downtown that the store would leave behind.
Tomah Resource is similar to the ABC Store; it’s a resale shop and its profits will benefit the community in some way, Brooks said. The plan is for Tomah Resource to become a non-profit and to use the funds it generates to help people in the community.
“We wanted to keep it a resale store but change the focus to instead of (the profits) going to one place, we allow people to come in and apply for assistance, or if people lose their homes to fires or disasters like that ... we would have funds and clothing and essentials that people can take advantage of,” he said.
While the resale store is open and running, it’s not a non-profit yet, Brooks said. He said it takes time, money and paperwork to reach that stage.
Once the store is a non-profit, Brooks said he and his wife won’t be the owners anymore; they will be the founders and landlords since non-profits can’t be owned.
Brooks said the ultimate goal of the store is to help people.
“I don’t want to break even every month, I want to have stuff I can give away to people and take care of the community,” he said. “Everyone’s situation’s going to be different, and I just want to create a place where people can go if they have nowhere else to go. I know some organizations can’t help everybody, and it’s just kind of filling a need where I think there is one.”
Brooks is a native of Wonewoc and a 2003 graduate of Richland Christian Academy. After high school Brooks attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where he received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2005. From 2003 to 2007 he worked part-time for the La Crosse Police Department, and from 2005 to 2007 he worked for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
Brooks also has a background in online retail. During the last 10 years, he has been buying and selling items on eBay and running Brookside Bridal since 2005. In addition to retail, Brooks is a Christian musician and travels the country performing at concerts, worship services and speaking events.
He lives in Hillsboro with his wife and four children.