The coronavirus isolation has meant the end for the Salvation Army’s Thrift Store.
“Our family store has effectively shut down permanently as of this Monday,” said Lt. Bradley Mumford, who came to his post almost a year ago. “It really was due to a decline in store sales, and that was really impacted due to the virus outbreak, as well. They really kind of go hand in hand.”
The thrift shop, which had been located in Collinsville for many years, was moved into the Salvation Army building in April of last year.
“It took 6 to 8 months for it [the new location] to catch on,” he said. The shop in Collinsville was more visible to passersby, whereas in the Salvation Army building on Memorial Boulevard “we’re kind of tucked around the corner.”
The store’s site had been moved before he came to his post, Mumford said, but “my understanding was it was really expensive” to rent the Collinsville building.
Last year, the store was experiencing about a 35% loss in sales, he said. For the past two months, that loss grew to a 70%.
In the past two months, the number of days it had been opened decreased, to cut back on the employment costs “to leverage overhead costs,” he said.
The thrift store “never really did” contribute much financially to the Salvation Army. “The whole year we’ve been here, or close to it, it maybe did twice,” he said.
Funds it brought in mostly went to the costs of labor and utilities, he said.
Meanwhile, the Salvation Army continues with its regular missions, just with different methods of carrying them out.
“We are still serving the community by means of food boxes. Anyone’s welcome,” he said, with the only restriction being one box a month per person.
The Salvation Army serves hot meals each Wednesday and Friday between 11:45 a.m. and 1 p.m.
People used to be able to eat inside, but now meals are served to take home, at the rate of one or two plates per person. About 60 to 80 people eat at each meal.
Holly Kozelsky is a writer for the Martinsville Bulletin; contact her at 276-638-8801 ext. 243.