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Filling Thrift Store Void

June 1, 2014, 10:05 PM by Perry Groten

Filling Thrift Store Void

Second-hand stores are working to fill the void in the aftermath of a pair of thrift store closings in Sioux Fall.  The Volunteers of America thrift store went out of business in mid-May. That comes on the heels of the Salvation Army shuttering its thrift store in February.  Now, other shops in the city are trying to meet the need of customers who often can't afford shopping anywhere else.

The Furniture Mission has seen an increase in donated items, ranging from beds to couches, in the two-and-half weeks since the Volunteers of America Thrift store closed next door.

"We have high standards here as far as furniture, we just really ask that it be gently-used because we want to give these people dignity," Furniture Mission Executive Director Stephanie Heiden said.

There is no walk-up business at the Furniture Mission.  All clients have to be referred here by social services agencies.  Families receive free items at the Furniture Mission to help cushion them from economic hardship.

"Let's let these people feel good about themselves because the situations that they're in aren't things that have made them feel better," Heiden said.

With more merchandise coming in, the Furniture Mission hopes to be able to provide more items to families in-need..

"We aren't hoarders and so the more we have, the more we'll probably give away," Heiden said.

Following the long, cold winter, the Goodwill Thrift Store on South Norton saw a drop in both customers and donations.  But business is bouncing back now that the weather is heating up.

"We've had a great spring, we have 21 stores and we're really tracking over last year and that's what we're looking for," Goodwill of the Great Plains Director of Retail Heather Faulkner said.

Thrift stores are the only affordable options for Goodwill customers like Patricia Rippentrop who also used to shop at the Volunteers of America and Salvation Army stores.

"I'm disabled and I just like to go shopping and buy clothes and different things in my home," Rippentrop said.

Goodwill says it's receiving a lot of spring cleaning donations to ensure the shelves will be stocked through the summer for customers like Rippentrop.

"It's like a candy store, I can't get out of it," Rippentrop said.

The non-profit Goodwill says it's receiving more and more competition from for-profit consignment shops. 

Meanwhile, the Furniture Mission says it's especially short of donations of beds, dishes and silverware.

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