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Family Stores get makeover

 

Shoppers enjoy the reopening of the Canoga Park Family Store. Photo by Kathy Lovin

Revamped family store—same bottom line

 Canoga Park Salvation Army Family Store transforms disaster into opportunity.

 By Robert Brennan

The transformed Salvation Army Family Store in Canoga Park (Calif.) officially reopened on Jan. 19 to a line of customers extending around the block. After a plumbing problem resulting in extensive water damage forced the store to close in April 2011, The Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) Command chose to turn the disaster into an opportunity to refurbish the facility.

Lisa Guerrero—actor, producer and current chief investigative reporter for “Inside Edition”—cut the ribbon to officially re-open the store. Guerrero, whose parents met at a Salvation Army corps, is a long-time supporter of every facet of Army ministry. After cutting the ribbon, she modeled some of the bargains in the store, wearing designer clothes that—if bought new—could cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. However, the purchase price of her ensemble was around $60.

More than 300 shoppers crossed the threshold in just the first hour of operation.

Captain Timothy Rockey, Canoga Park ARC administrator, was overwhelmed at the turnout, knowing how the day would affect the 54-bed facility directly across the street.

“The ARC is a place where men can change their lives, learn about the Lord and start a new life and a new future without drugs and alcohol,” Rockey said.

The Family Store celebration represented more than the great bargains, designer clothes, Viking barbecue and vintage Wedgewood stove. Volunteers wearing blue vests—each a resident of the ARC program next door—helped direct the crowd and answered questions. All are involved in the operations of the store as part of their work therapy.

The Salvation Army’s global bottom line is also on display: a corner of the store features crosses, statuary and other Christian-themed items, with the words of John 3:16 painted above the shelves: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life (NAS).

At the end of the day, the Family Store’s gross receipts exceeded $45,000. Not a bad “bottom line,” especially when you consider these funds will help make once broken lives new again.

 

Hundreds await grand reopening in Temecula

The Salvation Army Family Store reopens after three months of closure.

After 15 years, the Temecula (Calif.) Salvation Army Family Store needed a new look, so for three months it closed its doors for renovation, reopening on Jan. 12. Hundreds of people waited for the store to open.

“I think it’s beautiful,” said Hemet resident Pat Magner. “There’s a lot of representation here from The Salvation Army. I’m glad to see the funds going back to the community.”

“We’re restoring lives,” said Bob Neral, business administrator for The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Riverside County (Calif.), who pointed out the inspirational messages painted on the walls of the store, which show how The Salvation Army, through its ARC program, helps people reclaim their lives. The family stores fund the ARCs.

Neral noted that in the 12 years he has been with the Army in Riverside County, close to 7,000 people have been helped countywide by the ARC program.

Store specials for the re-opening included a 25 percent discount on general merchandise and a 50 percent discount on jewelry and appliances. By 10 a.m., about 50 people were waiting in line to check out.

“The people who shop in our stores want the same comforts as any store. They want neat, clean stores and a good value,” Neral said.

The Temecula Family Store is one of the first Salvation Army stores in the Western Territory to have a café.

“We use The Salvation Army’s coffee, Cafe La V When we put the sleeves on, the cup says ‘Brewing Hope,’” Stephanie Lauderdale, store manager, said.

The “Brewing Hope” coffee project is a direct trade between coffee farmers in Pleiku, Vietnam, and The Salvation Army’s ARC Command in the West. Farmer Vu Pham Hoang grows the beans on his Vietnamese farm and ships them to San Francisco for roasting. The roasted beans are then purchased by ARC programs and worship centers. (For more information on “Brewing Hope,” see Caring, spring 2011.)

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