The Salvation Army thrift store in Moscow will close its doors Thursday, but officials are searching for another location in Moscow to open the store again, said David Puszczewicz, retail director for The Salvation Army's Northwest division.
Puszczewicz cited financial hardships for closing.
"The primary purpose of our stores is to provide funding for our local services, and the store is just not profitable," he said. "Therefore, (the store is) just not providing the funds that we need and when it's doing that, it's really putting a strain on the local operations of The Salvation Army and that is not the intent. The intent of the store is to generate everything that we can from the community to provide the funds necessary to run those programs."
The Salvation Army, an integral part of the Christian Church, is an international charitable organization with a mission to provide items to those in need.
Puszczewicz said The Salvation Army will continue to provide services to those in need on the Palouse.
Last year, 458 people received assistance, including utility, rental, groceries and transportation help, from the organization, according to The Salvation Army's news release. The services are funded by donations from local individuals, corporations and organizations.
Even though the store, which opened in 2008, receives support from the Moscow and Pullman communities, Puszczewicz said one of the reasons the store has not been as successful is because the existing building is not suited for its operation.
He said the store's processing space and parking is limited. Puszczewicz said he and employees often hear people say they will drive by the building a few times looking for a parking space but fail to find one so they end up not shopping at the store.
"My goal is to be able to reopen again in a location that will make it easier for us to process, for customers to park and for us to be in a position to generate funds beyond the expenses," he said.
Puszczewicz said officials are considering opening a pop-up store in Moscow that would operate at certain times during the year.
Customers like Madison Griffin, a University of Idaho graduate student, could still be seen shopping at the thrift store Friday.
"I do a lot of clothing shopping here and I am a walker, so it is really convenient because it's between where I live and campus," said Griffin, a regular at the store.
Emi Takahashi, a University of Idaho student and Washington State University employee, said she visits the store about once a week to shop and donate items.
She planned to donate items Friday but learned that donations are no longer accepted at the Moscow store because of its imminent closure.
Takahashi said she will miss the cost-effective store and is sad it is closing. She said the store was especially helpful when she moved to Moscow and purchased furniture and kitchen supplies.
All items at the store are 50 percent off, and that percentage could increase in the days leading up to Thursday, Puszczewicz said.
The Salvation Army owns the building and the organization has yet to identify plans for the structure, the news release states. The store will remain open through Thursday, pending available merchandise. It is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The nearest Salvation Army thrift store is in Lewiston.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to email@example.com.