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Thrift store looking for new home

Dennis Webb

Voter approval of plans for a new and bigger Glenwood Springs High School have given new urgency to the search by the Defiance Thrift Store for a new home.Unlike other businesses facing relocation as a result of the high school expansion, the thrift store was looking for new digs well before November, when voters OK’d a bond issue that will pay for the high school expansion.”We’ve been looking. We need some more space,” said Sally Lippman, board president of the nonprofit thrift store. “We’re still in limbo. We’re still hunting for someplace to go.”Now that the Roaring Fork Re-1 School District is looking to purchase commercial and residential properties for the expansion as early as this year, that search is intensifying. “I’m sure we may be a little panicky in July if we haven’t found someplace,” Lippman said.Representatives for True Value Hardware and Glenwood Gymnastics Academy have objected to the school district’s plans, which they say puts their futures in jeopardy due to the difficulty of finding other suitable, affordable locations.As a nonprofit, the thrift store was prohibited from taking a stance on the district’s $86 million bond issue, which will fund building projects from Basalt to Glenwood Springs. But Lippman said the thrift store already was looking to move because the 2,000-square-foot building it is now leasing is too small for its needs.”Although, at this point we’re pretty much open to anything,” she said.True Value and the gymnastics academy have expressed frustration about what they consider to be a lack of information so far from Re-1 regarding when they must move out and what assistance they might receive from the district. But Lippman feels the district has been open with the thrift store about its plans.”We’ve had the information that we need. They’ve been very forthcoming with their timetable and things like that.”District superintendent Fred Wall said during the holidays that Re-1 would be moving forward quickly on the high school project after the start of the year. Lippman said discussions between the district and thrift store are scheduled to begin next week.The thrift store was started about seven years ago by two local nonprofit organizations, the Family Visitor Program and Lift-Up, with the help of Leadership Glenwood, a program sponsored by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. The store sells donated goods and distributes profits to both nonprofits, and also contributes goods and services to other charitable organizations in the area.The store’s sales tend to vary with the economy, which was mixed last year, Lippman said. Some months it hasn’t been able to donate any funds to Lift-Up and the Family Visitor Program, but over the past few months it gave each organization about $3,000 per month.”It generates a lot of money for them,” Lippman said.The store currently rents from Terry Fattor, who also owns the gymnastics academy.”He’s a wonderful landlord. He’s been very supportive,” Lippman said.She said the store has made real estate agents and property managers aware that it needs new quarters. It has looked at several locations, but found nothing in its price range to buy or rent.”That’s the bottom line, is trying to find something we can afford,” she said.Ideally, it would find a place where a charitable-minded owner would offer a reduced lease or sale price, but that hasn’t occurred so far. Lippman said the thrift store applied for grants to buy one property but still couldn’t come up with enough money.The thrift store would like to stay in or near Glenwood Springs.”It seems to be a central place where people come to shop,” Lippman said.A location with a garage door would help because of the amount of furniture the store takes in.It also would help if the store relocates near a bus stop because a lot of its customers use public transportation, and it’s also more accessible for donors. A highly visible location not only would help the store’s sales, but would reduce the opportunities for after-hour drop-offs of goods that the store isn’t able to accept.”People tend to dump things but don’t realize that we have to pay to haul them away,” Lippman said.Often those people are well-meaning, Lippman said. But when they leave items such as old refrigerators and the thrift store has to get rid of them, it becomes expensive.”On the whole everyone has been so supportive. They really have. They’ve been great. We really appreciate all the gifts they have given us.”She said she wanted to extend “a big thank-you to everyone because it’s such a win-win situation for the community. We just need to find a home.”Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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