Salvation Army hopes national office will reopen store at new location next year
© Guardian photo by Jim Day
Brenda Wood was saddened to learn that the Salvation Army Thrift Store will be closing its doors in Charlottetown on Oct. 18. She finds the Thrift Store, where she shops two to three times a week, the "least expensive'' in Charlottetown.
The Salvation Army is once again closing its Thrift Store in Charlottetown due to unmanageable costs.
Capt. Jaime Locke says the store, opened in January 2011, was expected to generate funds to fuel local Salvation Army programming. Unfortunately, the result has been just the opposite.
“It hasn’t been working for us,’’ he says.
“The bottom line is we haven’t been making enough money to cover our expenses...it has been accumulating a debt load.’’
Locke says the Salvation Army has incurred losses of about $10,000 per year during the three years of operation since reopening the Thrift Store.
The 2,250 square-metre store located on Jordan Crescent, which offers low-cost pricing on items including clothing, appliances and furniture, will close on Oct. 18.
However, Locke says the national office, which operates thrift stores across the country, will look to open a store at another location in Charlottetown next year to help generate funds for the local Salvation Army.
Locke doesn’t anticipate the store opening until at least the spring of 2014.
“Restructuring our operation is intended to give us the best chance to succeed in Charlottetown,’’ he says.
“The retail division of The Salvation Army has already begun analyzing and studying the landscape in Charlottetown to pick a new location, and it will manage all aspects of the new store.’’
Brenda Wood finds the Thrift Store to be “the least expensive’’ store in Charlottetown. She shops here two to three times a week.
“This is the best place for anybody to shop,’’ she says.
Another regular shopper, who did not want to be identified, is quite upset with the pending closure.
She comes in every day either looking for bargains or to chat with staff and other customers.
She buys most of her clothes at the Thrift Store or at yard sales.
“The prices are cheaper than other places,’’ she says.
“I think they have pretty good selection.’’
Six people, including one full-time person, will lose their jobs. Locke notes they will all have the opportunity to reapply with the new store.
“It’s been nothing but a positive experience and it’s a shame that the store is going,’’ says manager Coleen Doyle.
“A lot of upset people...there are definitely regular people that come on a daily basis.’’
Locke also laments the closure.
“It’s too bad in the fact that we’ve gotten to the point where the local Salvation Army unit is not able to run its own Thrift Store,’’ he says.
He says a combination of operating costs and competition led to the financial struggles.
The Thrift Store had a 47-year run on Fitzroy Street in Charlottetown before closing in 2005.
The store was forced to shut down then also due to unmanageable costs.
Locke adds the Salvation Army is working on a plan to allow people to continue to donate items that they had been donating to the Thrift Store.