• Thrift Shop moving to new location

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    The Fort Leavenworth Consignment and Thrift Shop, currently in the old Trolley Station on the corner of Pope and Grant avenues, will be closing Dec. 8 and moving across from Envision in the former Engagement Skills Training 2000 building, 1025 Sheridan Drive.
    The reason behind the move, which has been in the works since early November, simply came from a safety issue, said Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Director Glenn Hewitt.
    “The challenge is it’s in a basement. There are some safety concerns with it being in the basement and (as) a retail operation,” Hewitt said. “The biggest drawback is with the retail operation — a fire suppression system is needed. It does not have that. There’re other things just from age — it’s deteriorating and at the end of the day it’s not safe for the customers. We have been working with (shop staff) on the safety concerns. As inspections arose, we would work at fixing those items that needed to be fixed.”
    Along with the fire suppression issue, Hewitt said the 112-year-old building has had problems with leaks and, though the leaks were fixed, the moisture that came in caused mold.
    “It’s for the safety of the volunteers, the employees and the Thrift Shop customers,” Hewitt said.
    The new location, though significantly smaller, is cleaner and has much more parking, said Mary Kendall, Thrift Shop manager.
    The Thrift Shop has been in business for more than 30 years.
    “They are a private organization on the installation and we are providing as much support that we can legally provide a private organization,” Hewitt said. “The Thrift Shop gives back to the installation annually, monetary-wise (with) scholarships and other things.”
    Kendall said there are 50 organizations the Thrift Shop helps each year.
    “We normally try to give out $35,000 to the different organizations (and) we support them by giving them goods and merchandise,” Kendall said.
    Kendall said the Thrift Shop also tries to donate back to families in need.
    “I was always able to keep enough merchandise that if families came in and needed something, we could just give it to them,” she said.
    Most of the store’s profit comes from the donations of the public. With consignments, the store takes 25 percent and the seller takes 75 percent.
    “We have a very generous population here and most of our profit comes from donations,” Kendall said.
    Eight-year Thrift Shop volunteer and retired 1st Sgt. Andy Ozores said the atmosphere among the volunteers and staff and the relationship with customers is positive.
    “In here, we get along real good. We have a small group, but most of it is we all volunteer,” Ozores said. “We have a good relationship with the customer. Most of them, they know you by your first name, you know them. You know what they like and what they don’t like. So, when they look for a specific item, you bring them straight to it. So, they like that.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Linda Smith, a volunteer for more than 30 years, said it’s like a family at the Thrift Shop and there is a lot of word-of-mouth business with international officers and their families.
    “The IOs usually show up here and send stuff home and tell people when they go back to their country to come up here,” Smith said.
    Assistant Manager Astrid Davis said the international officers who come in are part of what makes working at the Thrift Shop so rewarding.
    “It’s the contact with people and the different people from different countries,” she said.
    Through the final day of business, customers can fill up two brown grocery bags in the main Thrift Shop area at the north end of the building for $5.50 and one brown grocery bag for $5.50 in the Red Carpet Room. The Consignment and Thrift Shop should be moved into its new location by mid-January.
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