Jan 21, 2009 Ami Olson Uncategorized
After months of absence, the Rescue Mission re-opened a Fairmount donation center in December — but the four-day grand opening sale beginning Thursday, Jan. 22 marks a new presence of the organization in the western suburbs.
The Rescue Mission opened its first Thrifty Shopper store in Fairmount earlier this week, and celebrates the store’s grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. Thursday. The store is located about one mile from the previous donation center, at 4107 West Genesee St.
Paul LaDolce, Rescue Mission communications director, said the free-standing donation center that was located in the Wegman’s plaza was closed several months ago when the parking lot was reconfigured.
“We’ve been getting calls, people asking ‘when are you going to open a new Fairmount donation center?'” LaDolce said. He said he was surprised to hear from many individuals that there was a need for a donation center to re-open in the area. “I don’t know why that was very popular I’m sure there’s a lot of happy people out there, knowing our donation center is back.”
The new donation center opened Dec. 22, and was the first donation center throughout the Syracuse area that is physically connected to a Thrifty Shopper store, LaDolce said.
The facility also boasts the updated design first implemented at the Liverpool location, LaDolce said. An emphasis on uniform signage is evident in the new design scheme of bold red signage and inspirational words painted on the walls, which will eventually be shared by all the stores.
The new design includes a large sign behind the cash register counter that explains how proceeds from the Thrifty Shopper stores benefits the Rescue Mission.
“It just gives customers an idea of where their money is going,” Ed Bates, director of social enterprise, said. Many customers were not aware of the connection between the Rescue Mission and stores, Bates added.
One of the biggest benefits of the arrangement is the extended hours the Fairmount donation center is able to offer those wishing to donate. Other donation centers are free-standing wooden structures without electricity, and business hours change according to the season, LaDolce said. The Fairmount location is open year-round from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Another advantage is the proximity to the Thrifty Shopper store, LaDolce pointed out.
If, for example, household goods are donated to the Fairmount center, they could be put on sale at that store location, rather than be shipped to the Rescue Mission warehouse, processed, then distributed.
That’s not to say everything donated in Fairmount will end up in the Fairmount store, but it could make the process more efficient, he added.
District Manager Brent Piech noted the advantages extend to residents donating items, as well, who will benefit from having a staff member on-site dedicated to processing donations, unlike other Thrifty Shopper stores where donations are handled by store employees.
Monday afternoon, during the store’s soft opening, Camillus resident Ellen Gacek said she was on her second visit to the store that day.
Earlier, she had spent almost $40 on ‘incidentals,’ she said — books, shoes, housewares. But she returned that afternoon to pick up the Tiffany Co. bowl she’d spotted on her first visit. The bamboo-style dish was priced at $49.99, a bargain she couldn’t turn down.
“She just fed twenty-five homeless people with that bowl,” District Manager Tina Badger said, smiling, as Gacek cashed out.
Gasek said she is “very familiar with Thrifty Shopper” stores and was thrilled to have the new store opening in the western suburbs.
“This is so cool,” she said.
Badger pointed out that the Fairmount location is one of the smaller-sized stores, but is stocked with the “best of the best” items in preparation for the grand opening.
Need for the low-cost, quality items offered by Thrifty Shopper stores increased significantly in the last year, LaDolce said.
In October 2008, business at Thrifty Shoppers stores increased 27 percent over October 2007 — typically the busiest month for the stores, LaDolce said.
“We’ve been having a very difficult time since the weather has turned cold,” he added, noting a severe lack of winter clothing and cold-weather gear donations. “We are in desperate need for winter clothing.”
Donations are accepted during business hours at the eight donation centers and 13 Thrifty Shopper locations. Goods are either distributed to the needy for free or sold at the stores, where proceeds go back to the Rescue Mission and fund services for the homeless and hurting. To arrange for pick-up of large items or to learn more about what the Rescue Mission can accept, call 453-7242. For more information about the organization and services it provides, visit rmsyr.org.
4107 West Genesee St., Fairmount
Grand Opening Thursday, Jan. 22 through Sunday, Jan. 25
9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday — Wednesday, Saturday
9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday, Friday
12 to 6 p.m., Sunday
Grand Opening specials
Enter to win grand prize, 75% off everything you can grab in 75 seconds, each time you visit the store
Merchandise replenished hourly
Special gift to first 50 customers on Thursday, Jan. 22
Bargains, prizes and refreshments