The Salvation Army is getting out of the thrift shop business in Rutland.
The religious organization announced it would close its store on Field Avenue in November and repurpose the space. Capt. Timothy Shaffer, the head of the local chapter, stressed that the organization itself is not leaving Rutland.
“The Salvation Army reorganizes its structure sometimes,” he said Friday. “The thrift store — they decided to close it down and focus more on our social services, such as youth programming. ... We’re still here. We’re still doing programs and stuff like that. It’s just the thrift store is not going to be part of that at this time.”
The organization has run the store at Field Avenue since 1996 and has offices and a food shelf in Howe Center. The reorganization consolidates their operations at the Field Avenue location. Shaffer said part of the motive was having everything in one place.
“Right now, people don’t know we’re at Howe Scale,” he said. “We want to make sure people know the Army is there and the store is a better location for us. There’s better visibility.”
Shaffer said the closure was “not necessarily” spurred by competition from Goodwill, which opened a store across the street in 2016.
Shaffer said the store will close Nov. 20 after a liquidation sale and they intend to have everything moved from Howe Center by the end of that month. He said the move should not disrupt the food shelf.
“Normally in November and December, we don’t really have a food shelf, because we do our Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas baskets,” he said. “If someone needs food, we would never deny anyone food. We would go and get the food. I don’t think anything would disrupt that.”
The change will come with an expansion of programming.
“My wife is trying to look at doing a youth drop-in center,” he said. “We have all the items to do that.”
Shaffer also said the store might not be gone forever.
“There is a chance — I’m not saying it will — they could reopen in a smaller aspect,” he said.