SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota — The Salvation Army thrift store in Sioux Falls is closing this weekend after at least five years of running a $50,000 annual deficit.
Officials say the store in the northern end of the city has negatively affected the agency's budget, when it is supposed to support some of its ministry programs. But local advocates for homeless people say the store's closure is a blow to the city.
Maj. Tom Riggs with The Salvation Army told the Argus Leader (http://argusne.ws/1cIOf4R ) that the store, which has been at its current location for about two decades, has had a budget of $150,000 to $200,000 a year. But as retail competition has increased in the last several years, the agency has been forced to use funds from its general fund to support the store.
"Money we've been spending to support the thrift store has not allowed us to do other things," Riggs said. He added that some days sales only amount to about $125.
The store closed Saturday. Riggs said the building will now house a social services center.
The coordinator of the Sioux Empire Homeless Coalition said the agency's decision illustrates the growing gap between haves and have-nots.
"It's another resource lost to our community," Bliss told the newspaper. "Here's a place that gives wonderful consideration to the people who are the most fragile and most needy. But there are not enough people that go in and shop ... and allow them a margin."
The nearest Salvation Army store open is about an hour away in Mitchell. Customers are being referred to other thrift stores in Sioux Falls including Goodwill, St. Vincent DePaul and Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com