BY MELANIE BUCK –
Local Salvation Army Store Manager Roxanne Aleshire has announced the move from their location on Magnolia Street is complete and the new store, located on the corner of 4th Street and Sherwood Avenue, in Mena, is open and ready for business.
“We’ve been at the other location for a really long time and it’s ‘tucked away’ and we needed to be more visible,” stated Aleshire. “We were blessed with someone leaving their estate to the Salvation Army for the sole purpose of a new building.”
Items offered at the store include clothing, household goods, books, electronics, and more. She added, “I love the new store, it’s economical and well organized. We’ve only been open here for three days and we’re seeing people we’ve never seen before, including locals and travelers, being on this highway frontage. We’ve had people that have always lived here and didn’t know we had a store.”
The local store must be self-sustaining, meaning they must pay for their own utilities and rent to remain in operation. However, with the donation that was received, the building is paid for. They are able to keep payroll costs to a minimum through volunteers. Aleshire stated, “We have 7-10 volunteers that work in the store on a steady basis and we also have community service that helps.”
In addition to paying their own way, they must also raise funding to help the local community. All of this is done through profit from the store and their yearly red kettle campaign.
When asked about future plans for the local Salvation Army, Aleshire stated, “If we continue to see this steady volume, we intend to do a lot more services than we already do.” Donations received and store profits help support local causes such as food banks, paying utilities for needy families, clothing and household donations for loss of homes, helping victims of domestic violence, children’s charities, emergency lodging, homelessness, and community service. Some of these services have been placed on hold due to the move but will restart in October. “This year we found out about a family that was unable to buy school supplies so we took them and bought them everything they needed,” said a smiling Aleshire.
The donations from the community and the patrons of the store are what keep the Salvation Army going and able to help those in need. “It helps a lot of people’s budget to shop in our store. It helps them and they are helping someone else in return. It’s a win-win,” said Aleshire of the difference each purchase makes.
All donated items are appreciated and are received in the back of the building during operating hours only, Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Mena / Polk County Chamber of Commerce has scheduled a ribbon cutting for the Mena Unit of the Salvation Army. The ceremony will take place on Thursday, September 11 at 2 p.m. at the Salvation Army store. If you would like more information on services or donating, you can contact the Salvation Army by calling 479-437-3110.