Rescue Mission's new store helps raise funds for its mission

May 24, 2013

The Rescue Mission has opened it's latest store at the Westvale Plaza in Syracuse. It's the biggest thrift store in the 14-store chain, that supports a majority of the programs for a non-profit organization that helps the hungry and homeless in central New York.

Shoppers at the new 22,000 square foot store in Syracuse were finding plenty of bargains as the big bright store opened its doors, including one woman, who picked up a Hello Kitty purse.

"I've actually waited years and years. I'm serious. I'm from California and I just couldn't believe I stumbled across this and it's under ten bucks," she said.

Rescue Mission CEO Alan Thornton is happy the store is bustling.
"The Thrifty Shopper stores, and social enterprises, contribute $4 million net to our programs and services, and overall makes up 60 percent of the revenue for the Rescue Mission," said Thornton.

So shoppers can find bargains, and also help the agency which Thornton says is experiencing historic levels of need, with may people living on the margin in central New York.

"They're either underemployed or unemployed.  And so it's a challenge for them to be able to make sure they have enough money to buy food to put on the table for their family," said Thornton. "So we see a lot more families coming in especially this time of year, as we head into the summer months to make sure their kids are well fed."

Thornton says the Rescue mission continues to look for new storefronts for expansion, to add to their existing locations, that stretch from Jefferson County down to the Southern Tier. He says thrift store shopping, embodied recently by a rap song called "Thrift Shop," has become trendy,

"Because people can find especially the thrifty shopping stores, great merchandise, great brands, unique and creative looks at a fraction of the price if they went fully retail," he said.

Beyond offering low prices for clothing, furniture and household items, the Rescue Mission also tries to educate shoppers about how their visit can make a difference in a homeless person's life.