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.