City Mission plans sixth thrift store

December 7, 2012

City Mission, which reaches out to those in need, will likely be expanding its reach.

The organization is planning to open a sixth Hidden Treasures store, its first outside Washington and Greene counties. It is striving to complete an agreement that would pave the way to place one of its thrift stores in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County.

Denise Henning, chief financial officer for the mission, said before a lease is signed, “significant improvements will have to be made” to the building where Hidden Treasures would go. It would share space with a Dollar General store on Rostraver Road, just off Route 51.

She said renovations would put the store in compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry standards.

Established in February 1941, City Mission provides aid, food, shelter and medical attention to the area’s homeless. It depends partly on revenues from its thrift stores.

Staff at the mission go through used, donated items, and either use them at their site at 84 W. Wheeling St. or distribute them to the stores for sale. The merchandise includes clothing, shoes, books, furniture, knickknacks, seasonal items and electronics, said Donna Bussey, associate director for public/media relations.

The current stores are in Washington, Canonsburg, Waynesburg, Monongahela and Donora.

Jerry Oxford, director of business and operations for the mission, said costs for the upgrade are being calculated. He said the mission plans to lease about half the space in the building, a former Shop ’n Save grocery owned by George and Matt Sweeney.

Henning said mission administrators are hoping to have an agreement by Jan. 1 and to open the store in the spring.

Oxford said the mini-mission concept would be implemented in Rostraver, just as it was at the Monongahela store that opened a year and a half ago. If a customer is seeking shelter, he explained, that person may seek a referral for housing at the Washington facility.

“We’re building this store with the idea of connecting with the community,” Oxford said. “My goal is to open one store a year.”

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won seven individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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