Thrifters and donors will have one less option to do both of those things in Utica next month. The Salvation Army Utica Thrift Store, which is in the downtown hospital footprint, will be seeing itself out of the footprint, early.
"There's already construction going on and around the area. In discussions with our attorney on it, he says it's just gonna get harder and harder to get people to come into the store because of streets being closed and those types of things, so we had to make a decision," says Major Robert G. Miga, Administrator of Business for the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army sold the property to MVHS, and has been looking for another location in Utica since hospital rumors first started swirling, years ago. However, finding a suitable location has proven difficult.
"I've been searching since we've known, since the rumor came out that there was a hospital and that was about four years ago now, but actively been searching for two years. And have there been a couple locations? Absolutely, but trying to fit them within the budget...."
"It's easier to go here to get stuff than to go to a regular store. I mean it's less expensive. I'm retired. I need to save money wherever I can," said frequent thrifter, Donna Rose, who was at the store on Thursday to replace items she'd recently lost to flooding.
"My dad actually got me started into thrifting, because he used to come here. He's like, 'you could find clothes that have tags on them still,'" said Melissa Laneve, who shops at the thrift store a few times a week. "We do have a lot of people in this area who don't have a lot, so I feel like whenever I'm here, this is where they are and they're shopping to get clothes and if we don't have that avenue for them, that's kind of sad."
Major Miga says markdowns and sales will lead up to the June 15th closing date. People will be able to shop and drop off donations at the Rome and Ilion stores. The Salvation Army's Clinton Place facility, in Utica, will remain unaffected.