UPDATE FROM BISSELL CENTRE’S CEO
Our temporary Thrift Shoppe location at 11817 80 Street, has been destroyed by fire. The fire broke out as staff were closing up for the day. Thankfully, customers had already left, and our staff were able to flee the building without any injury. All of the contents were destroyed. We are devastated to experience such a disaster after our permanent store location experienced a terrible fire in September 2013.
A number of our staff have assisted the fire investigation team. I have been told by the Fire Investigation Team that it may be Wednesday until there will be an official report on the cause. As soon as we know, we will share it with you.
Not only does the fire impact those who shop there for low cost clothing and household items, it impacts the 13 staff who depend on the store for their livelihood; these are the staff who worked so hard and long to reopen after the September fire. This is also terrible news for our friends at the Native Friendship Centre who were kind enough to let us rent the building.
Bissell Centre staff will be meeting to develop a plan to address what has happened. Discussions have begun already and on Monday I will be meeting with key staff from around our organization to identify the many next steps we will need to take to get past this and move forward.
I am appreciative of the thousands of followers we have on social media who are sending their well wishes and their clear commitment to help us. We will let you know how you can help in a couple days.In the mean time, you can get some information at http://www.twitter.com/bissellcentre
Thanks as well to the many media representatives who want to cover this and help mobilize a response. I ask everyone for patience as we regroup and do our best to quickly set a course of action. It is my intention to be able to address the media sometime Monday afternoon. Media inquiries should go to Devin Komarniski (Phone: 780.423.2285 ext. 131 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Some are wondering how the fire might have impacted our Underwear Drive (#DropYourGonch) done in partnership with Mayfield Toyota. I understand all that was collected in that drive is safe.
Many thanks to all of the 50 fire fighters who responded so quickly and worked so diligently to put out the fire and to the other emergency responders who helped out. Edmonton is blessed to have people like you.
I would be dishonest if I didn’t say this is heartbreaking. However, I have no doubt about the resiliency of my staff and the caring support of the Edmonton Community.
For those customers of the Thrift Shoppe, I am so sorry the store is out of commission. I am sure our friends who operate other Thrift Shoppes will help you until we are back up and running — Goodwill, the Salvation Army, among others.
Mark Holmgren, CEO