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