MARIETTA - After years of operation serving the Marietta area the Salvation Army's Thrift Store is scheduled to close indefinitely at the end of October.
Representatives from the Salvation Army's Cincinnati headquarters announced the closing during a visit to Marietta last week, according to store manager and social worker Becky Place.
"We were called in and told the store would no longer be open as of Oct. 31," she said. "They said we would be closing because we could not meet our bills."
Clothing, furniture and other items donated to the store are sold to help support local Salvation Army programs.
Place, a social worker who has been with the Salvation Army unit for 10 years, took over management earlier this year in an effort to increase sales at the thrift store.
"Since June we've doubled our sales, but that was still not enough to remain open," she said, noting other factors have also impacted the store, including the high cost of trash removal for the facility.
Place said people often donate items that cannot be sold because they're in disrepair or simply unusable.
Those materials have to be thrown in the trash and it can cost $500 to have a dumpster load of trash removed each week.
In addition to Place, the thrift store has three workers, two of which are newly-hired part timers.
She said the store serves a growing need in the community.
"We have a lot of regular customers every day who can't afford to go anywhere else," she said.
Major Timothy Lyle, divisional secretary for the Salvation Army headquarters in Cincinnati, said funding the store was the main problem.
"The decision to close was financial," he said. "The store hasn't performed at a level to keep it open, and it hasn't performed well for some time."
Lyle said Salvation Army officials understand that the store provided a valuable community service.
"It's unfortunate we have to do this, but the facility has to be able to operate financially," he added.
Lyle said the organization is working on delivery of other services in the Marietta area, but did not specify what those services might be.
The nearest Salvation Army Thrift Store to Marietta is at 570 Fifth St. in Parkersburg.