gospel mission

Mission’s thrift store hosts soft re-launch

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Union Gospel Mission’s thrift store in downtown Sioux Falls is back open, nearly two months after a burst pipe flooded the building back in December. The thrift store held a soft opening Thursday. Customers are thankful to be returning, once again.

Issac Chitwood is staying at the Union Gospel Mission so a shopping spree at the Mission’s remodeled and reopened thrift store was simply a matter of walking across the street.

“Yeah, I’m homeless and work there in the kitchen and so I figure I could come over here and look for some good values,” Chitwood said.

Many of the customers, like Chitwood, are looking for warm weather gear. The thrift store has been restocked with donated items replacing the merchandise that was damaged when the building flooded in December. Those who cannot afford to pay for the items, get them for free.

“I love it, I love it because it’s not like, you ask them for something, they help you out, all you gotta do is ask. They appreciate. I always come here. I’ve been wearing the same clothes for several days,” Louis Running Bear said.

Even though this is a soft opening, the Mission management says it’s important to start getting clients through the doors again to meet the pent-up demand that’s built-up over the winter.

“When they’re standing, lining up at our door and we’re not open, that’s a tough deal,” Union Gospel Mission CEO Eric Weber said.

Many of the clients received clothing and necessities at other non-profits in the community while the thrift store was closed for repairs. But satisfied customers, like Running Bear, are grateful the store is back open so they can face the hardships of a

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Thrift store: Help wanted

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — The Union Gospel Mission in Sioux Falls officially opened the doors to its thrift store Monday after hosting a soft-launch last week. The store had been closed for nearly two months after getting flooded by a burst pipe the day after Christmas. It was quickly repaired and the shelves re-stocked, but it couldn’t reopen until they could hire enough workers. Yet the business expects to thrive in spite of a staffing shortage.

Maddie Schei’s tenure as a thrift store employee lasted just one shift in December.

“I have one day here and then the flood happened,” Schei said.

Schei has been a community health worker at the Union Gospel Mission since August, but was called in to help with a staffing shortage at the thrift store. Then, a frozen pipe burst on the third floor, flooding much of the building.

“It was raining from the floor. And we had 98-percent humidity in here and it was just heartbreaking. Now I look at it, and it’s like wow,” Union Gospel Mission CEO Eric Weber said.

That wow factor is courtesy of volunteers in the community who worked quickly to repair the damage.

“Even the crew people that were here doing the water extraction was like, we can’t believe this was done in three weeks,” Weber said.

People also donated items to replace the merchandise that flooded. The plan was to open the thrift store by February first. But the mission just couldn’t find enough workers to hit the target date.

“We need people to haul in the donations, we need people to like run the till. We need people to go through the donations, sort them, so there’s kind of a lot of aspects we have

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