Kalispell, Mont. thrift store sales hit $1 million mark

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by Shanti Hahler – 

CASHIERS REBECCA (L) AND Bonnie (r) are part of the hard-working staff who contributed to the success of the thrift store.

The month of February marked a great achievement for The Salvation Army thrift store in Kalispell, Mont., and for the Northwest Division as a whole: the store broke the million dollar mark in gross sales over the past 12 months.

According to Neal Shay, retail director for the division, this is the first time any store in the division has accomplished this. He added that all of the store’s financial trends for 2005 are also “considerably up.”
Store manager Norma Anderson said she was overjoyed when she heard the news.

“I screamed and yelled and ran around the store congratulating all the employees,” Anderson said. “This really is a morale booster.”

Anderson said she had set the goal of breaking the million-dollar mark recently when she realized that the store was fairly close. In previous years, the store has grossed an average of $900,000 to $950,000. She attributes part of the success to having moved the store to a more lucrative location several years ago, but mostly to the hard-working staff.

“I certainly didn’t do this alone … it was done by everyone in the whole corps,” she said.
Captain Daniel Freeman agreed.

“The employees have really pulled together as a team and it shows.

(They) don’t just care about the dollar but take pride in their customer service and are willing to go out of ther way to help the donors and the customers,” Freeman said.

A portion of the funding for Salvation Army social service programs in the community comes from proceeds of the thrift store sales after store expenses are taken out.

“Hopefully this is something that will continue to grow and help us expand services outside the Greater Kalispell community,” Shay said.

Anderson said she currently is planning a celebration for the 23 store employees in Kalispell.

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