Johnson City’s Salvation Army chapter is about to do something big.
On Friday, the new Salvation Army Family Superstore will open for business in the former Food City building at 2506 S. Roan St.
Believed to be one of the largest thrift store operations in Tri-Cities history, the store features approximately 15,000 square feet of sales floor and an estimated 5,000-square-foot warehouse. “It’s huge and it’s full,” Salvation Army board member and lead volunteer Mattie Mullins said.
Offerings will include a large assortment of good used clothing — $2.50 per garment for adults and $1 per garment for children — furniture, housewares, exercise equipment, sporting goods, toys, books and other assorted merchandise that Maj. Gary Elliott, commander of the Johnson City corps, said is all “priced to move.”
“We’ve spent some money on it. We’ve redone the floors, painted the walls and fixed the lighting. It is beautiful and really full,” Elliott said.
Chris Walley, director of human services and public relations for the local corps, said with last month’s expiration of the lease on the Salvation Army thrift store and warehouse in Elizabethton, that store closed and all warehouse operations were moved to the new South Roan Street location.
Elizabethton area residents in need of emergency services, including food, shelter or other assistance, are being referred to the Salvation Army Social Services office located in Johnson City at 204 W. Walnut St.
With the opening of the new superstore, the Salvation Army thrift stores located at 423 W. Walnut St. and 3101 W. Market St. in Johnson City also will continue to operate. All store hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Net proceeds from all three stores will go to year-round Salvation Army services.
“That’s one of the main reasons the thrift stores exist,” Elliott said. “There is tremendous pressure on our resources right now. They keep talking about a double dip recession and unemployment’s up around 10 percent. Most of the people who come to us have either lost a job or had their hours cut. We haven’t been able to do a lot with rent and utilities but we have had a good supply of food and people just keep coming. If it’s a go at that store, we will be able to do more.”
Elliott said the lease on the South Roan Street building came at a good price and the owner, Bill Wilson, “is very excited to have us there and has been very supportive.”
“We did it at six months with an option to renew. And if it’s a go, we’d like to talk to him about buying that end of the building. We’d love to have it,” Elliott said. “It’s an experiment. How much traffic a store out there will get is the question. ... But we’re hoping. I’ll tell you in about a month.”