Archived Story

Salvation Army prepares for new thrift store

Published 12:00am Tuesday, April 23, 2002

The Salvation Army hopes a larger thrift store paves the way for more programs for youth and families.

Now that they’ve outgrown their current space, The Salvation Army is looking for a new location for their thrift store, and have signed a purchase agreement with the city of Albert Lea for a parcel of city-owned land in the Channel View urban renewal area, on Front Street, next to the Texaco/Food-n-Fuel.

According to Capt. Jamie Pennington of the Salvation Army of Freeborn County, the advisory board has been exploring the option of a new store on and off for about eight years. The main reason is that their operations have outgrown the space available at their location downtown, where they rent space in a storefront on North Washington Ave.. According to preliminary plans, the new building would be two-and-a-half times larger than the current location, or about 13,000 square feet.

&uot;We feel we can serve the community better in a new, bigger location. And we’re excited about the opportunities a new store offers,&uot; said Pennington.

The purchase agreement specifies that The Salvation Army will pay $30,000 for the lot.

The purchase agreement also allows The Salvation Army to purchase additional land further east, should that be necessary. The cost would be based on the square foot cost of the original purchase.

Before finalizing the deal, they will need to complete environmental tests and surveys of the property.

Among those new opportunities is the potential to double their current income with a larger retail space. The local Salvation Army receives up to one-third of its funding from the thrift store.

Once completed, the new building would also provide more storage space and a loading dock for the new box truck donated by Ford last year. That makes it easier for them to accept donations of furniture, Pennington said.

Pennington also anticipates hiring a larger staff for the new store. Currently they employ five people at their thrift store: two full-time and three part-time. Although exact numbers aren’t available for the new store, they may need to hire up to five additional staff, one or two of them at full-time, he said.

The extra income would allow The Salvation Army to expand its operations in Albert Lea, possibly offering more programs for youth, families and other community members, said Pennington.

If everything goes according to schedule, they could start construction late this fall or early next spring, he said. They hope to be operating the thrift store out of the new location by next year.