DANVILLE - The Salvation Army in Danville will be closing its thrift store at the end of this month, partly due to a continual decrease in sales, according to Captain Judy Lowder.
Lowder said the Salvation Army wants to take "a long hard look" at its operation in Danville, and evaluate how to serve the community in the future, whether that's a thrift store at a new location or whether "something else is needed."
"We've been trying to do all we could," Lowder said in an interview on Monday, referring to efforts at the current store.
She explained how the Family Thrift Store at 855 E. Fairchild St. had extended its hours, lowered prices and made other changes, but they were not enough. She said sales have been declining since November, and donations had also been down at one time, but recovered with the rummage sale season while sales did not. In April, a new Goodwill store opened at 904 N. Gilbert St., on the west side of the city.
According to Lowder, short-term plans are to turn the Salvation Army's thrift store into a new ministry called Sal's Closet, which will provide, for free, clothing, shoes and home goods to people who cannot provide those items for themselves or their families. The army helps those displaced by fires or those moving into the community, who need basic items. In some cases, that type of assistance allows them to purchase food and pay other bills, according to Lowder. Although the store will close this month, the army will still need donations of clothing, shoes and home goods like bedding and kitchen items, including plates, pots and pans, she said. But army will no longer accept furniture or decorations as donations, she said.
And long-term, Lowder said, a thrift store analyst will be brought in to evaluate need, location, size and what property could be available, if the decision is made to continue with a thrift store. A committee will likely be put together, according to Lowder, that will include herself, Salvation Army Advisory Board members, the corps council and a realtor to study the situation and help create a plan.
The Salvation Army has been in Danville for more than 124 years, according to Lowder, and wants to be here for years to come.
"We are praying for financial miracles and blessings to continue to provide the best service we can to the residents who need our services in Vermilion County," Lowder said in an e-mail. "We will be seeking the community's input as we move forward and firmly believe the community will continue to support the work of the Danville Salvation Army."