Austin Salvation Army announces closure of thrift store after 75 years

Published 4:04 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Austin Salvation Army announced Monday the closure of its long standing Family Store, marking the end of more than 75 years of service to the community. 

Despite exhaustive efforts by staff to increase profitability, the thrift store has faced increasing financial challenges exacerbated by the pandemic.

“Our team has worked tirelessly to explore various avenues to sustain the store’s operations,” said the Salvation Army’s Major Jeff Strickler in a press release Monday. “However, the economic impact of the pandemic has made it increasingly difficult to maintain viability.”

Email newsletter signup

Strickler said that the store has been able to break even in the years following 2020, but the lingering impact of COVID-19 and the effects of inflation have made keeping the thrift store open impossible to continue on that break-even mode of operation.

According to the release, the decision to close the store was not made lightly, and is considered a responsible step forward to better allocate available resources and further enhance services for Mower County.

“We are immensely grateful for the ongoing support from the community over the decades,” Strickler said. “The thrift store has been a cornerstone of our outreach efforts, providing affordable goods and a sense of community for generations. However, after careful consideration, we believe this closure is necessary to better utilize our entrusted resources for the greater good of Mower County.”

Strickler said he hopes that there will be minimal impact to employees at the SA.

We have approximately 4.5 (full time employees),” Strickler said. “We have about 2.5 (full time employees) open at our corps building next door, so we hope to be able to retain some of our current employees.”

The hope is to sell off all of the inventory before doors close at the end of the final day of operation on May 31. Most anything remaining will look to be recycled.

The Austin Salvation Army commended its thrift store team for their unwavering dedication and hard work in serving the Austin community. Their commitment has been integral in providing essential services and fostering a sense of belonging for countless individuals and families.

In alignment with its commitment to serving Mower County, the Austin Salvation Army is in the process of developing a long-term strategic plan. This plan will encompass new and enhanced opportunities to address the evolving needs of the community while maintaining core offerings such as its food pantry, community meals, outreach ministries, and other areas of assistance.

Strickler also said that they are looking to work with other organizations through the use of clothing/household vouchers.

The community is encouraged to continue their support during this transitional period. The last day for accepting community donations will be Saturday, April 27.

As the Salvation Army in Austin embarks on this new chapter, it remains steadfast in its mission to serve those in need and looks forward to continuing making a positive impact in Mower County.