SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Union Gospel Mission’s thrift store in downtown Sioux Falls is back open, nearly two months after a burst pipe flooded the building back in December. The thrift store held a soft opening Thursday. Customers are thankful to be returning, once again.
Issac Chitwood is staying at the Union Gospel Mission so a shopping spree at the Mission’s remodeled and reopened thrift store was simply a matter of walking across the street.
“Yeah, I’m homeless and work there in the kitchen and so I figure I could come over here and look for some good values,” Chitwood said.
Many of the customers, like Chitwood, are looking for warm weather gear. The thrift store has been restocked with donated items replacing the merchandise that was damaged when the building flooded in December. Those who cannot afford to pay for the items, get them for free.
“I love it, I love it because it’s not like, you ask them for something, they help you out, all you gotta do is ask. They appreciate. I always come here. I’ve been wearing the same clothes for several days,” Louis Running Bear said.
Even though this is a soft opening, the Mission management says it’s important to start getting clients through the doors again to meet the pent-up demand that’s built-up over the winter.
“When they’re standing, lining up at our door and we’re not open, that’s a tough deal,” Union Gospel Mission CEO Eric Weber said.
Many of the clients received clothing and necessities at other non-profits in the community while the thrift store was closed for repairs. But satisfied customers, like Running Bear, are grateful the store is back open so they can face the hardships of a winter on the streets, knowing there’s help nearby.
“We appreciate that. We all walk together,” Running Bear said.
The thrift store will host its official opening on Monday. The mission had hoped to open much earlier, but they’ve had a hard time finding workers. We’ll tell you how they’re able to staff the store, despite the hiring challenges, next week in Eye On KELOLAND.