After a rough start, the Ottumwa Salvation Army Thrift Store is finally on its feet.
The store closed in May 2012 to reorganize and re-staff, and now the store offers an improved shopping experience. Feedback from customers has been positive since re-opening, and store manager Airen Snow said sales are up.
"We increased our hours from 10-4 to 10-6 and we're just waiting for winter to let loose and once summer gets here, I think we'll see our sales even get better," Snow said. "But compared to - I think we're doing about the same sales over our winter period as we're doing last summer, so hopefully this summer we'll be even better."
Increased sales is a good thing for the Salvation Army, because all proceeds go back towards supporting their programs, like the summer child feeding program.
The Thrift Store also gives back to the community, many know the American Red Cross will assist families displaced from home from a fire, but the Salvation Army does as well.
After the Red Cross figures out what each family needs, they can issue a voucher for them to shop at the Thrift Store for clothes and even furniture to help them start over.
"Any time that they need some sort of assistance, the Red Cross sees them first and then they'll come and see us after that point." said Salvation Army Captain Oliver Knuth. "We had one last summer where the Red Cross gave them gift-card type of thing to go and get some clothing and things. They didn't have anything other than the pajamas they had one because it was a fire late in the evening, so we were able to bring them down here and help them get some clothes, so that way they can at least have some regular outfits to go out and purchase more clothes."
Captain Knuth said the voucher program is especially helpful, as a family can purchase bags worth of clothing and household items for not much money. The vouchers aren't just for those suffering after disasters, anyone in need can come down to the main Salvation Army building on Second Street and be issued a voucher.
Snow said the Thrift Store is always in need of donations of furniture, toys and household items.
The store also now has a truck that can come pick up deliveries of furniture or large items and you can schedule a pickup by calling 682-3606.
The Thrift Store is open 9-5 Monday-Friday and from 10-6 on Saturday.