Salvation Army Thrift Store shows off new expansion

Photo by Jeff Baughan Major Matthew Riley, co-commander of the Parkersburg Salvation Army with his wife, Cathy, not pictured, stands in front of the new 600-square-foot addition. The addition is allowing the Salvation Army to place more merchandise onto the sales floor.

PARKERSBURG — It’s been a bit more than a week since the Salvation Army Thrift Store reopened after an expansion and remodeling. So far, according to Major Matthew Riley, the Thrift Store is going to reap benefits.

“It was a grand day both in numbers and in sales,” he said about the reopening. “So far, the numbers in customers and sales are up. Now maybe that levels out in a while, but right now, the new look is meeting with approval.”

Part of the remodeling was “the knocking out of a wall between the store and the warehouse,” he said. “Doing that gave us an additional 600 square feet of room for merchandise. The entire shopping area received new laminate flooring; we renovated a bathroom and there is a new ceiling and lights were we expanded.”

Riley said the cost of the project was approximately $45,500. He said the project was paid for by a grant from the Baltimore headquarters and by a local anonymous donor.

“The expansion has allowed for more items on the floor and has allowed us to give customers more room in the aisles,” Riley said. “When the store was full of merchandise, it was hard to move around. Now it looks neater and cleaner. It’s been about 25-30 years since the last renovation.

Photo by Jeff Baughan Salvation Army Thrift Store employees Roy Shingleton, front, and Malachi Sealock carry a table from the warehouse into the renovated section of the building.

“More traffic means more revenue,” he continued. “More revenue means we can serve more people.”

The Thrift Store closed two hours early March 28 and reopened April 1 with the grand reopening April 6.

“Right now we’re seeing people coming through the doors who we haven’t seen before,” he said.

“This renovation was long overdue. Customers need a nice place to shop. People who donate, customers who shop… those people help us keep the staff paid.

“Right now, we need a full-time truck driver to do pick-ups,” he said. “They just need a good license and pass a background check.”

Photo by Jeff Baughan A piece of artwork sits atop the new laminate flooring installed in the Salvation Army Thrift Store on Fifth Street in Parkersburg.

Riley estimated approximately 100-120 people a day come through the doors at the Thrift Store, which has hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Donations can be left at any time under the shelter near the Thrift Store but Riley said donations are best left during business hours. “There’s no guarantee the donation will make it to the store floor if left outside overnight.”

There are a few items the Thrift Store won’t accept, according to Riley. “The store doesn’t accept mattresses, old televisions, stained couches, stained or ripped clothes,” he said. “We can’t even sell the stained or ripped clothes to a rags dealer. It costs us money when people drop off trash. It happens a lot.”

Riley stated as long as the kindness of the people of Parkersburg and the surrounding area continues to hold out, it’s good for all involved.

“My wife, Cathy, and I have been doing this for 30 years,” Riley said of the Salvation Army experience. “This is one of the most giving communities we’ve ever seen. If we continue to get the donations the way we are and keep the floors fat and full, we will be able to help more people.”

Photo by Jeff Baughan The 600-square-foot expansion received new lights and a new ceiling as part of the renovations.