Salvation Army Family Store celebrates first anniversary

by Sandy Johnson

One of the newest thrift stores in Wabash will soon be celebrating their one-year anniversary.  On Friday and Saturday, August 15 and 16, The Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center is planning a special event for customers with store hours running from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. both days.

On Saturday there will be a storewide half-off sale on select items, cupcakes for the first 100 customers, and door prizes every other hour. Some prizes will include gift cards from local restaurants and salons, as well as store gift cards. There will also be a drawing held at closing that day for a chance to win a Kindle Fire. Winners do not need to be present for these drawings.

“The store carries a wide selection of items to choose from such as, clothing, furniture, books, movies, televisions, jewelry, small appliances, treasures, and collectibles,” stated Salvation Army district manager Heather Hull. “There is new stuff put out everyday,” she added.

Hull has been working with the manager in getting the store ready for the celebration.

“We are happy to be in Wabash,” said Hull. “The location is great because it is off the highway and close to Wal-Mart, and the size of the store is perfect.”

When the plan was set for a Wabash store, the company was confident the store would succeed. Although the store’s earnings aren’t exactly where the company would like them to be, they continue to strive to make the store more profitable for the future. Hull pointed out that the store will be dropping their prices in order to stay competitive with other thrift stores in the area. 

“I think it is important to note that most of the sales from the Wabash store go to help our adult rehabilitation center in Fort Wayne,” explained Hull.

Although the center is located in Fort Wayne, anyone with a qualifying condition can use this facility. The Salvation Army has been helping millions of people, men and women alike, since 1865. Only in the last 20 years, however, have the earnings from the Family Stores played a major role in helping the rehab centers continue to offer their services.

The Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation centers help adult males get back on track with their lives after falling to drug or alcohol addiction, divorce, homelessness or other devastating circumstances.

“The center provides a place to live, a work program, and spiritual help in a structured environment. All of which is 100% free,” explained Hull.

Not only are men provided a place to sleep and meals throughout the day, but they also work for The Salvation Army in many different areas. Some work in the kitchen, while others help sort and clean merchandise that are later delivered to the district’s family stores. All of these services are important in rebuilding the lives of these men so that they can once again live on their own.

“We are so happy for all the donations we have received in Wabash,” said Hull. “Our best selling items are women’s clothing and knick-knacks,” Hull added. Without donated items, the store would not have much to offer its thrift shoppers. Donations are always accepted during store hours and can be dropped off at the back of the store or through the front entrance.

Besides donated merchandise, ten percent of the items sold in the store are new resale products that come from liquidation sales from larger companies, such as Target. This offers shoppers a variety of options along with gently used items.

The store’s inventory runs on a six-week cycle. This means by week five the merchandise goes on sale at half-off. After that week, items that didn’t sell are removed from the floor and shipped back to Fort Wayne where they are later packed in a truck and sent to another country.

“We try everything we can to recycle,” said Hull. “Shoes can be taken apart, and we even scrap metal,” she added. 

The six-week inventory cycle helps the store offer a variety while removing those items that are not selling off the floor.

In the future, The Salvation Army hopes to expand their services with a “transitional home” for men who graduated from the rehabilitation center but aren’t quite ready to live on their own.

“This place would provide an in-between so that there is some accountability, but less discipline,” explained Hull.

Plans for opening a women’s rehab center is also being discussed.

As part of the Wabash store’s one-year celebration, the company will run an ad with a coupon in The Paper this week and the next week for customers to use when visiting the family store.

For more information about The Salvation Army, the services they offer, and ways to help, visit their website at

Posted on 2014 Aug 05