December 5, 2021

Thrift store to close

Salvation Army site to continue as donation center only

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Jan Totenel, left, and Deb Ford look at pants Friday inside the Salvation Army Family Thrift Store in Cortlandville.

Deb Ford and her sister Jan Totenel looked through the racks of women’s pants Friday at the Salvation Army Family Thrift Store on Route 281 in Cortlandville.

“This is one of our favorite places to go because it’s like a treasure hunt,” Ford said.

The two will soon lose that favorite place to go because the store is closing for sales in August, the Salvation Army announced Friday.

The store will be closing to sales Aug. 14 and continue on as a donation center only, a news release states.

The Salvation Army center on Main Street in Cortland will remain open.

With the store closing, that leaves the Thrifty Shopper as the only remaining thrift store in the immediate Cortland area.

Insufficient revenue from the store, which helps fund the organization’s rehabilitation programs, is cited as the reason why the store is closing.

The store opened in June 2007 in building once occupied byPeck’s Furniture. The 19,800-square-foot space more than doubled its previous location, which now houses Meldrim Paint Center.

“The decision to close the store was not made lightly,” said Maj. Patricia Kurtz, who oversees the Cortlandville store. “But after much review, it seems to be the most responsible choice.”

Stacey Davis, the director of marketing and external communications for the Empire Division of the Salvation Army, declined to provide specifics on the store’s financial health, but said the expenses were higher than its income.

“So keeping the store open would mean providing less help to the community, not more,” she said.

Kateri Dunfield, a senior sales associate at the store, said she learned July 7 the store would be closing.

“It was honestly pretty devastating just because I had finally gotten to a position where I was set to stay working at this store for the foreseeable future,” she said.

Dunfield, who has worked for the Salvation Army at locations throughout Central New York since 2016, said she liked how the stores always build community.

“They’ve just always been, you know, places for everyone to get together,” she said.

A petition to keep the store open has gotten more than 800 signatures, not including store employees, said Julianna Greene, the creator of the petition who works in the donations center.

Dunfield has since applied to different jobs outside the organization, including Pall Corp.

She said that while she understands the store is a business and needs to have sales to stay open, there may be broader consequences.

“People just forget about the little guy and what’s going to happento people who need the store in the long run,” Dunfield said.