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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Salvation Army Thrift Store to close

by Sylene Argent

The New Year did not kick off as hoped for the employees and shoppers of the Essex Salvation Army Thrift Store as they learned on Friday that the resale shop will no longer be in operation as of next month.

  The Thrift Store would have celebrated 22-years of business in Essex this coming May.

  Susan Robson, the Manager at the Thrift Store, was devastated to hear the news, especially since the news was a surprise. She said, however, there were a few things leading up the announcement that made her question if something was about to change.

“There were clues, so there was worry,” she said.

  Robson noted the Essex Salvation Army Thrift Store opened in 1998, and she has been with the local business since the beginning.

  Robson recalls the fire that burned the original facility down, which was located on Gordon Street, in April of 2002. The shop was reopened within a few months on Centre Street, where the former Centre Street Variety was located. In around 2007, the local business was relocated to main street, where it has remained until present.

  She said she believes the resale store is as busy today as when it first opened. Its clientele base, over the years, has, however, expanded from local shoppers to ones that come from other communities within the region, as well. Donations to the shop came from Essex residents and from those of neighbouring communities, too.

  The closure will affect three full time and two part time staff members at the Thrift Store. Robson does not believe there will be other employment opportunity through this chain for the workers affected by the closure. Robson noted the news was especially hard to take just after the holidays. It will also affect the regular customers, who have supported the shop for many years, and those who participate in the Essex Salvation voucher program in a time of need.  

  Robson noted there are many individuals and families in Essex living with low incomes, including seniors, and depend on being able to purchase affordable goods to stretch their dollars a little further.

  The Essex Salvation Army’s Food Bank, which is currently located at the back of the store, will be relocated to the Essex Salvation Army Church’s basement.

  A statement from Dan Millar, Area Director for Public Relations, noted The Salvation Army will close its Essex County thrift store because of ongoing financial concerns.

“After a thorough review of operations and possible alternative solutions, The Salvation Army has made the difficult decision to close the Essex County Thrift Store. The Thrift Store will be officially closing to the public on February 15, 2020,” he noted.

“This was not an easy decision and was made due to an ongoing history of financial instability, which could no longer be sustained,” he added.

  He noted the Essex Salvation Army is grateful for the support received from the community of Essex and surrounding area throughout the 20-plus years that the Salvation Army Thrift Store was in operation, “and we look forward to continuing to provide social services to those in need in our community.”

  The Salvation Army, Millar continued, remains fully committed to providing comprehensive services directly to anyone and everyone in and around Essex, who requires assistance through its Food Bank, Community and Family Services Programs, Christmas assistant programs, Youth Camping programs, and the SA Connections free Drop In lunch program.

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