Archived Story

Salvation Army partners to sell clothing, shoes

Published 2:09pm Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Albert Lea Salvation Army has a new partnership, and its leaders hope the community will see multiple benefits.

Capt. Jim Brickson said the Salvation Army has partnered Sam Tekko, who is with S & S Group 1 Inc., to sell its overflow clothing, accessories and shoes. Brickson said S & S Group 1 is operating out of the former grocery store at 822 S. Broadway and that the community could see some jobs added to staff the business.

“It’s been a good, lucrative proposition for the Salvation Army,” Brickson said. “We look forward to a long partnership.”

Brickson said clothing, belts, handbags and shoes are all still sold at the Salvation Army retail store on Bridge Avenue. And historically when there’s excess or items that don’t sell then they are sold to other companies who plan to resell them elsewhere, but the partnership with S & S Group 1 is new.

“His goal is to send two semis per week from Albert Lea to ship overseas,” Brickson said. “They’re paying us three times what we’ve ever been paid.”

He explained that clothing and shoes are traded much like other commodities and that shoes or clothes that might have been thrown in a landfill can be recycled and reused.

“It’s a much bigger business than you ever would have guessed,” Brickson said.

Brickson said S & S Group 1 plans to work with four Salvation Army locations within a 300-mile radius to pack the items together in Albert Lea and then ship them from there.

Both for-profit and nonprofit donation boxes around the country are already using the same business plan, and Brickson said the Salvation Army wanted to be competitive so that ultimately it can keep providing services to those in need in Albert Lea.

Since early 2012, the Albert Lea Salvation Army has worked with 14 businesses to place donation boxes at 11 locations in Albert Lea and one each in Clarks Grove, Alden and Glenville. Brickson said the businesses and community members generously donated the $1,000 cost for each box.

“The Salvation Army was blessed by having businesses and services clubs who jumped up to help,” Brickson said.

The drop boxes for donations have helped the retail store in Albert Lea, and Brickson likes that they make it easy for people to donate to the Salvation Army.

“We’re providing more customer service, and it’s improving our ability to be more diverse,” Brickson said.