The Arc of Spokane is expanding its operation with the opening of a new thrift store at one of the busiest intersections in the city.
A grand opening is planned for Dec. 9 starting at 9 a.m. at the store at 808 N. Ruby St. with food and other promotions.
Crews this week are sorting through donations of lightly used clothing, shoes and household goods and stocking shelves.
The 20,000-square-foot main floor includes 15,000 square feet of retail space and 5,000 square feet of back room area. Another 5,000 square feet is found on a mezzanine level.
Until now, the Arc acted as a wholesale supplier to Value Village stores, but income from those sales remained flat while expenses had increased in recent years. The Arc collects about 1,100 tons of goods annually.
A contract with Savers Inc., the parent company of Value Village, had come to an end, allowing The Arc to redirect its donations to its own thrift store, said Brian Holloway, development director for The Arc.
Sara Gaugl, a spokeswoman for Savers Inc., said Value Village will turn to Northwest Center to provide goods for its stores. Value Village will pay the center for those goods, helping that organization provide its own range of services and job opportunities to people with disabilities.
The Arc of Spokane Thrift Store will create 35 to 40 new jobs, most of which will be part time, said Fred Meyer, store manager.
Holloway said his board of directors moved quickly to secure a lease for the store.
“We decided if we were going to do this, we needed to do it now,” Holloway said. “This is a big step for us.”
The Arc of Spokane is a $5 million a year agency that offers support services to adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities and to families of children with those types of disabilities.
The Arc takes advantage of state and local funding, as well as support from United Way. Income from donations has become increasingly important to the agency budget, so the thrift store will help capitalize on that, Holloway said.
Plans call for eventually creating a number of jobs for clients of The Arc, Holloway said.
An estimated 7,000 people in the Spokane area live with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The Arc has been serving that segment of the population and their family members since 1950.
The thrift store property is owned by GVD Commercial Properties Inc. It was previously occupied by CompUSA, but has sat vacant since 2007 when the consumer electronics dealer closed.
The Arc is seeking more donations to help supply the store.
Pickups can be scheduled by calling (509) 328-8100 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goods can also be dropped off at the new thrift store from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or at any of nine donation bins.