News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

October 13, 2012

Relocation program: Light House Mission store moves to new building while previous location is repaired

TERRE HAUTE — Halloween decorations sold like pumpkin-flavored hotcakes Thursday at a temporary location of the Light House Mission Thrift Store.

As Sherry Wheeler of Terre Haute gathered up an assortment of scarecrows and pumpkins, she told thrift store manager Janet Davenport that she was thrilled to find the items at such a good price.

“I was one of the biggest customers at the north store,” Wheeler told the Tribune-Star. “We’re really glad they opened back up.”

Wheeler was referring to the Light House Mission Thrift Store on Lafayette Avenue, which was closed more than a month ago after the roof collapsed from heavy rainfall. That thrift store building will be repaired and renovated.

In the meantime, the decision was made to relocate retail operations into the former Dollar General building at 940 Poplar St.

After several days of cleaning and interior improvements, the opening day of business at the new location was Thursday.

Tim Fagg, director of Light House Mission, said the Lafayette Avenue location has been the most popular of the Mission’s four thrift stores during the more than 12 years it has been open.

“We will rebuild it, so we are working with our insurance company right now, and we will hire a contractor to do a new roof, interior and lighting, and then we will reopen it,” Fagg said, noting that could take a few months.

So rather than lose the almost $17,000 in monthly sales that the thrift store brings in, he said, the staff and board of the Mission decided to find another location in the interim.

“When you’re running on a budget of $1.4 million, you have to watch every penny you make,” he said.

When a friend of Fagg’s who owns the now vacant Dollar General building on Poplar approached him about using the building, Fagg was glad to accept the offer. The store building remains up for sale, and it is actually too small at 8,000 square feet to replace the damaged thrift store, which is about 12,000 square feet.

“We want to rebuild on Lafayette because we have a tremendous base of shoppers in that neighborhood,” Fagg said on Thursday as sales continued briskly. “This is as close as we could get to the Lafayette site.”

The merchandise in the thrift store includes a lot of clothing, some large furniture items such as couches and recliners, bed frames, televisions, and many housewares items.

The items are donated to the Light House Mission at the main location on Wabash Avenue, where staff and volunteers receive, sort and clean the items, and then send them out to one of the thrift stores.

“We’re just trying to provide what we believe is a good service for the people of the community,” Fagg said. “There are a lot of people who are hurting, and if we can continue to sell stuff at low prices, it helps.”

Wheeler said she is a regular customer because of the prices and the variety.

“They can’t go wrong, anyone who comes down here. The prices are excellent,” she said.

Another regular customer, Karen Hughes, said she depends on the thrift store to find good deals for her family.

“I have two kids, and it helps me out extremely,” she said.

Other Mission thrift stores are located at Seventh and Hulman streets, and in Brazil and Clinton.

The Poplar Street store hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

For more information about the Light House Mission or its services to help the homeless, call 812-232-7001.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or lisa.trigg@

tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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