Donnie Tabor, left, and George Groeneveld were busy building shelves Friday afternoon at the new location of the Mission Thrift Store which is now located in the former Trail Appliance building on Bremner Ave. in Red Deer. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Red Deer thrift store leaves downtown for bigger space

Generous donations lead to need for bigger sorting space

A Red Deer thrift store is relocating for all the right reasons in challenging economic times — they need more room.

Bob Riley, general manger of the Bibles for Missions Thrift Store, now called the Mission Thrift Store, said Friday that they outgrew the downtown location at 4936 – 53 Ave. some time ago because of the generous donations they receive.

They plan to re-open at 2823 Bremner Avenue on April 20, and have a grand opening on May 6. On Friday, volunteers were busy helping with the relocation. The downtown store closed on Thursday.

Riley said the front of their downtown was probably big enough but they just ran out of sorting space in the back of the store. The Bremner Avenue location has is 18,000 sq. feet. The downtown location was 12,000 sq. ft.

The biggest issue they have is the wealth of donations, and in order to meet the demand, they just needed a larger storage, sorting and receiving area, he said.

“Of course having more floor space, we can always fill it up. There’s no doubt about that.”

They have been receiving donations for about two weeks now at the new location and “we are overwhelmed,” an appreciative Riley said.

Their board did consider expanding the building downtown, but ultimately it made the most sense economic sense to relocate to the new building.

Riley said they recognize they may lose some clients but a survey they did earlier in the year showed that most customers come by vehicle or bus. Only a very small percentage came on foot.

“We loved our location (downtown),” but at the end of the day they weren’t able to expand their operation there, he said.

Besides selling donated used household items and clothing to the public, the store also offers a voucher program, working with other helping agencies in Red Deer to assist people in need.

The store raises funds that go towards the purchase of Bibles in the Ukraine. There are over 48 Bibles for Missions thrift stores in Canada. The Red Deer store was the first one to open in Alberta years ago.

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