The new Salvation Army thrift store opened its doors Thursday morning, greeting customers with an arch of red, yellow and blue balloons, free doughnuts and a chance to win a prize by spinning a wheel. Staff from neighboring stores and the Salvation Army organization had been brought in to assist on the opening day of the Lodi store.
The approximately 1300-square-foot store has about 20,000 pieces of garments for sale, as well as housewares, large and small appliances, bikes, televisions and furniture, among other things.
One section by the checkout registers contains donations from warehouses and other businesses with out-of-date products. The drop-off area for donations is located at the back of the store.
Proceeds from thrift stores help fund Salvation Army’s rehabilitation programs, said Maj. Sylvan Young, Stockton Adult Rehabilitation Center’s administrator of business. Stockton’s center offers a six-week, no-cost program for men that provides housing, food and counseling, as well as therapy for adults working to overcome addictions to drugs and alcohol.
“They don’t pay for anything,” Young said.
The faith-based program provides group and individual counseling services, according to the center’s website, with the goal of helping the people it serves to develop work and social skills, along with reuniting parents with their children.
Marc Marceron, a director at the Stockton center who was working at the Lodi thrift store on Thursday, said donated clothes are brought into the store on a daily basis. The inventory is regularly rotated to ensure customers encounter new wares each time they visit the store.
Young said the Salvation Army sorts through about 25,000 pounds of clothes per day per regional area, with the local area stretching from Galt in the north to Turlock in the south, and from Antioch in the west to Sonora in the east.
At noon, Young estimated hundreds of customers had already visited the new store.
Ann Villanueva, of Galt, brought her two children, Allana, 9, and Laura, 12, to peruse the store.
“It’s great, I’ve been looking forward to it opening,” she said. “I’m glad they are here. It’s a great organization.”
Staff reporter John Bays contributed to this story.