The Tylersville Road Salvation Army Family Thrift Store will not reopen due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the store was likely to close toward the end of the summer regardless, according to the nonprofit organization.
Nonprofits like the Salvation Army have taken a hit across the state and nation due to COVID-19. And America’s charities are “frontline responders” providing food, shelter, medical services and other services to those in need, according to the National Council of Nonprofits.
In March, the council said it anticipated contributions to decrease, just as in the 2008 Great Recession. With lower donations and no retail stores to supplement the Salvation Army’s mission, the organization has laid off some staff and reduced services.
“America’s charitable nonprofits and the people we serve face a precipitous decline in mission services at a time when our efforts are needed like never before by the most vulnerable in our communities,” the Salvation Army said in a statement.
Salvation Army Capt. Kenneth Cleveland, who oversees the Salvation Army Family Thrift Store in West Chester Twp., said it’s been “really hard” on the organization during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Just like other businesses and nonprofits have had to close because of the stay-at-home order, it really has put a damper on things,” he said.
In addition to the temporary closure of all of its retail thrift stores, many employees have been temporarily laid off, and some of those may end up being permanent layoffs, he said.
Cleveland said the Salvation Army will continue to serve the community. He said services will still be provided to those in need, but they will need to contact the Salvation Army office in Norwood or Cincinnati or connect online at swo.salvationarmy.org.
West Chester Twp. may not be without a Salvation Army Family Thrift Store for long.
“My goal is at least is to try to find something in the West Chester area that can still service the community, but in a better location,” Cleveland said.
The dropbox will remain open until the Tylersville building is sold, which could take up to a year. Donations will be distributed to the other Salvation Army Family Thrift Store locations in Norwood, Eastgate and Delhi Twp.
Cleveland said signs at the Tylersville location that say “no donations accepted” will be changed.
The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t force the Salvation Army to close the Tylersville Road location but only moved up the timeline, he said. Cleveland said the store had been underperforming for various reasons, including poor visibility from the road and other shopping destinations nearby.
“West Chester Twp. is a great community, and they’ve been supportive as far as donations — we get great donations,” he said. “The problem is that particular store is not at a good location because the customer count is not great, and unfortunately, we have seen a decline in sales in the last couple of years.”
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