CEO Update on the Thrift Shoppe Fire

by | POSTED: Sep 04, 2013

First off, everyone at Bissell Centre is grateful for the many organizations and individuals who approached us to ask how they can help us recover from this devastating fire.  Offers of warehouse space for clothing donations, groups offering to do clothing drives, and helpful ideas and suggestions about where we might relocate a temporary Thrift Shoppe are among the many offers of support we are receiving.
The latest update on damages now sets total damages, including the cost of contents, at $650,000 and that number may increase as further inspections take place. I have shared some pictures at the end of this posting that show the significant damage to the store. I am hopeful the costs do not escalate much higher or we might be faced with tearing the building down and starting from scratch.

I have been working with our lead team and other staff to take immediate action to find an alternative location for the Thrift Shoppe, given that we now understand it could take up to six months to bring the store back into operations.  My goal is to have a relocation plan in place within a week and an alternative donations centre identified within days, but I will keep you posted.

To be clear, Bissell Centre is not inclined to wait. The Thrift Shoppe and the free clothing service its revenues fund help up to 6,000 low income people each month and we are committed to re-opening as soon as possible. We are working on a plan as well to deploy as many Thrift Shoppe staff as possible to the recovery. That said, some of our staff will face layoffs; we are working with the insurance company to see if some of those staff could be hired to help with the restorative work they will be coordinating.

We have excellent insurance but we know from past experiences with major flooding that not all costs are recoverable through insurance, so I am working with our CFO and will be consulting with the board about the impact of this disaster on our already tight budget.

I am grateful for such an amazing staff. Two of my lead team members returned early from vacations to step up and help lead our recovery. Staff are working long hours to get us back up and running.

For those who wish to donate clothing to us, you can still do so at our Southside Donations Centre at  5120 122 Street from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday to Saturday. Phone: 780.423.2377.  Because of a recent flood in our basement at our main office, we are not able to handle clothing donations, but we will have identified another location for donations in the very near future, so please come back for updates.

Financial donations will help as well to lessen the blow of continued staffing that can no longer be covered by Thrift Shoppe revenues.

Donations can be made by clicking HERE.

At the very end of this secure online form  you can designate your gift to Thrift Shoppe Recovery by stating so in the comment box.

Thank you!

Mark Holmgren, CEO