New Ohio thrift store ‘screams recovery’

by Robert Mitchell

A new Salvation Army thrift store opened in Ashtabula, Ohio, on June 3 that will prominently showcase to shoppers where the store’s proceeds are going.

The new location features 3 feet by 5 feet photos of current Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) beneficiaries from nearby Erie, Pa., amid pallet wood accents. Salvation Army ARCs are funded by thrift store proceeds.

Ashtabula’s new store was laid out by carpenter Ryan Daniels, an ARC graduate and the location’s full-time maintenance worker. Joshua Gilbert, the director of business for the ARC in Erie, said eight ARC alumni work full time throughout the ARC.

“The image of this store screams recovery,” Gilbert said.

The new 12,500-foot location (9,500 for shopping) is a former carpet store and replaces a three-story building with several problems. The store is on busy U.S. Route 20 and near a Walmart to encourage impulse buying.

“We’ve done a lot things to kind of update and change the look of the store,” Gilbert says. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful building.”

The store features a beautiful fitting room and pallet-wood accents throughout. Gilbert credited Daniels and employees like maintenance coordinator Mark Lukowich, who helped with the majority of the store’s setup. Meanwhile, store manager Cheryl Golding arranged the store’s merchandise into departments.

“We made it so if you’re shopping in men’s and you need dress shoes, well they’re right next to suits,” Gilbert said. “If you need anything athletic, it’s right in our athletic department. We set it up so it’s very inviting—easy to shop.”

The grand opening on June 3 included local dignitaries and free hot dogs, coffee, and donuts.

“We already have some commercials airing,” Gilbert says. “There’s a lot of buzz going on. We have a lot of people just coming through our parking lot. We just finished the parking lot and some signage. It’s looking beautiful.”

In a separate release, Gilbert said, “Our new thrift store will offer more selection and more bargains that appeal to everyone to provide our customers with a better shopping experience and to support our social services work. We really look forward to contributing to the community at all levels.”