CNJ staff photo: Benna Sayyed Workers at the Salvation Army Thrift Store strategically stage clothing and furniture to boost sales.
Times have been tough for the people Clovis’ Salvation Army helps. They’ve also been tough for the organization itself.
Commanding Officer Jim Gallup said business has been slow the past couple of months at the thrift shop at 301 E. Second St. He said the opening of numerous thrift shops in Clovis, the store’s covert location in a residential area and vandalism to its lone truck have chipped away at business.
The Salvation Army has had an office in Clovis for 100 years, with a thrift store that accepts and picks up donations by truck for nearly 40 years.
Gallup and his colleagues have not been deterred from their mission, making improvements at the store such as cleaning and repainting and strategically staging furniture and clothing.
“What we do, what we receive is to help the public,” said Gallup, who took over the post 14 months ago. “That’s the entirety of our purpose. Part of it is nonprofit and part of it is a ministry which is devoted toward helping those who do not have.”
Gallup said he also plans to advertise on billboards.
“We’re hoping that with the truck, with a little publicity, people here and around the area will know what we’re doing and this will generate more sales and donations. It’s a win-win situation,” said store manager Sue Williamson.
The shop contains a hodgepodge of items, many repainted or refurbished. Besides furniture, clothing, and electronics, antique gas stoves, trunks, and glassware — and, once, a camel saddle — have been sold at the store.
Gallup and his wife, Rachel, a Salvation Army major, said they got into the business to serve God.
“The Salvation Army slogan right now is ‘Doing the most good,’ and that’s a big part of it, but I think the primary slogan which really struck me is ‘Heart to God, hand to man.’ When your heart is right with God, you are going to put out your hand to help your fellow man,’” Gallup said.
Mary Lombrana, a Salvation Army family services worker for seven and a half years, handles the church side of the business. She meets with people one-on-one in the church, listens to them and prays with them.
“My thing with people that come in here is to be honest with me,” Lombrana said. “Let me know where you’re at. Be honest and I’ll see if I can help you.”
She said when money is available the church can assist people with lodging, clothing, medication and utilities.